Malco Tools has announced that they are discontinuing their locking handle tool business, and will be selling their remaining inventory. In other words, they are shutting down production for their USA-made Eagle Grip locking pliers.
Malco Tools reopened the former Vise-Grip factory in Dewitt, Nebraska in 2018. The first USA-made Eagle Grip pliers started rolling out of the factory in 2021.
They supplied new locking pliers to Snap-on, seemingly under an OEM agreement, and also sold Eagle Grip tools under its own branding.
Malco says in a social media announcement that “despite our best efforts, we have not seen the demand needed to make this product line sustainable for our company.”
Malco has not publicly announced their future plans for the DeWitt, Nebraska facility, or what will happen to the workers there, many of whom – I have been told – also worked at the plant when it produced tools under Vise-Grip branding.
Local news reports have said that Malco is seeking a potential buyer for the plant.
This is extremely frustrating and disappointing news.
Thank you to everyone that wrote in about this!
Tool Users’ Early Responses
Fans of the brand are understandably upset. Here are some of the comments on social media:
This is bullshit, you didn’t try hard enough. Your marketing and distribution network sucks.
Where are they though?!? Your marketing needs to talk to your distributors
Where’s the marketing, why was it only sold under Amazon. Seriously needed to push these more!!!
wasn’t even aware they were available for sale yet TBH 😢 marketing
Found out about those a month ago. This was a marketing error. Too bad
Maybe next time you make a good product, try advertising it.
Honestly, bigger marketing and more competitive pricing would’ve saved them. It’s a damn shame because these things are tanks. Gonna have to hang on to my pairs.
Could this have been Avoided?
Not to mince words, I agree with others’ sentiments – I believe that Malco and Eagle Grip could have done more.
Earlier this year, unhappy about a conversation I had with a Malco “social media specialist” that had messaged me, I reached out to Malco’s Director of Sales and Marketing, who I spoke extensively with when the Eagle Grip tools first launched. I found them to be intensely passionate and prideful about the new locking pliers.
To my disappointment, I never heard back. I don’t know the details, but I discovered that the Director had left the company after nearly 22 years.
I can’t say whether their emails were forwarded to whomever is handling sales and marketing at Malco or Eagle Grip now; I never heard back from anyone.
Now, a few months later, I cannot say I am surprised about the discontinuation. Disappointed? Absolutely. But surprised? No.
Did Malco and Eagle Grip do the best they could with respect to broadening their selection of locking pliers and clamps, getting the word out to tool users, or expanding retail availability?
It’s unfair to say that Malco didn’t try hard enough to make the Eagle Grip line successful, at least not without knowing inside information none of us are privy to.
How many people disappointed about this development were previously aware of the product line, but didn’t buy any Eagle Grip tools? You vote with your wallet. But if you would have bought the pliers had you seen more about them, that’s on Malco.
In my opinion Malco certainly could have done better in some regards. But even if they did, could the outcome have been different, or was this an inevitability?