When you park your bike at a public rack in Waunakee or stop at a bench to take a rest from a walk, you’re using Graber Manufacturing Inc. products created right in town.
Tracy Graber, a new Waunakee Rotary Club member, gave her classification talk and described the history of the company and its operations.
The manufacturer of steel street furnishings and bike racks began by creating window fixtures in 1939. In 1967, Sara Lee purchased Graber and the company became a division of Springs.
Tracy’s great-uncle Joe and her grandfather Jack then began making bicycle racks for cars. In 1989, when Tracy’s grandfather passed away, the company was sold. Her father then began making street bike racks  with her uncle and cousin, and in 1993, her father bought the business.
It was in Middleton and it began to take off.
In 2002, Tracy’s father Tom realized the company could do more with site furnishings such as tables and benches. Madrax became the brand for the bicycle manufacturing side of the business, and Thomas Steele was the brand for the furnishings.
Graber Manufacturing Inc. moved to Waunakee in 2006, and in 2011, reached 50 employees.
Tracy, a graduate of UW-Stout with a degree in hospitality management, found after college that she loved restaurants but the hours not so much. She wanted to play when the rest of the world was, so she joined her father’s company.
In 2012, the company obtained a new bender which gave it an advantage. Tracy’s sister, Hilary, joined, as well.
Since then, Graber Manufacturing Inc. has expanded the building twice to its current size of 105,000 square feet in Waunakee’s business park near Octopi Brewing.
“It’s been really cool to watch it grow. We’ve done two expansions in a four-year time frame,” Tracy said.
Manufacturing space and also storage to keep products in stock for companies looking for bike room, lockers, sheds and corrals have been added.
The company supplies these along with furnishing throughout the United States, with some clients in Canada and Mexico.
The Dec. 12 meeting was also club assembly. The following are reports from the different club committees:
-Peggy Acker Farber for community service said the turnout was amazing for Santa’s visit to the Village Center, with about 1,500 people attending. She thanked Nancy for the help and everyone who brought cookies.
-Jan. 22 is the Madison new member orientation, Linda Olson told the club. Also, a member will be needed to attend one of the grant seminars.
-The Rotary scholarship applications were provided to the different high schools, Bob Arntz said.
-A sign-up for the holiday party was sent around. It will be Jan. 16 at the Lone Girl.
-Rotary Lights in full swing. If you’ve signed up for slot after Dec. 11 and you’re not sure when you’re supposed to be there, check the website or with Bill Erickson.
-Three people are needed on Wednesday, Dec. 18, at 10:30 a.m. at the Waunakee Senior Center to shadow people with Meals on Wheels, Phil Willems said, as they deliver emergency meals.
Guests: Steve Geishirt, guest of Bob Sachtjen.

Visiting Rotarians: Ken Yuska, Downtown Madison.
Corporate Associates: Jean Elvekrog.

Birthdays: Dec. 21., Howard Teeter; Dec. 25, David Weishoff; Dec. 27, Jim Kattner.

Anniversaries: Dec. 27, Jim and Jean Elvekrog;  Dec. 27, Rich and Sue Wipperfurth.
Programs: Dec. 19, Rotary convention and foundation; Dec. 26, no meeting; Jan. 2, Jason Bertram of Paranormal Wisconsin; Jan. 9, Club Assembly & Brian Franzen classification talk.
Greeters: Dec. 12, Lisa Humenik and Jennifer Hurley; Dec. 19, Roxanne Johnson and Jim Kattner; Dec. 26, no meeting; Jan. 2, Kevin Kearney and Tom Kennedy; Jan. 9, Chris Kenney and Bob Klostermann.