Beaufort kazoo factory expands despite economy

By Jaime Dailey - bio | email

BEAUFORT, SC (WTOC) - The Kazoobie Kazoos factory in Beaufort isn't letting the economy keep them down. Owner Steven Murray is from the area and he relocated his business to Beaufort last year from Florida.

"Eighty to 90 percent of our business is online at our website, and we have a wholesale distribution. We supply music stores, retailers and we ship worldwide," said Murray.

They're making their mark on the industry, with their rainbow of colors and some innovation. Last year, they created the wazoo, which is a kazoo with a special piece that makes it louder.

This year, they've added a new customized T-shirt shop, along with a museum and gift store.

"We've hired two new employees for the T-shirt shop and we have one or two new employees for the Kazoo business," said Murray. "Economy-wise, the kazoo business, we've kind of flatlined this year; but considering we're in the Kazoo business and we're still here, we kind of pinch ourselves every day."

Murray said the gift shop is something he's always wanted and with extra space at the factory, it was a perfect fit.

"We have a lot of factory visitors," said Murray. "We do field trips with schools, Boy Scout groups on a weekly basis. Before most our produce was in boxes on shelves."

Now, visitors can see all of their products on display. After touring the factory, you can pick out your own colors and build your own kazoo.

You can also now learn all about the history of the kazoo.

"It's actually a southern instrument, invented in Macon, Georgia in the 1840s, so we're trying to keep the heritage alive and educate people," said Murray.

"We have electric kazoos, a kazoo that was used in the Partridge Family, Kazoos shaped like Mickey Mouse, Scooby Doo," said Boaz Frankel.

Visitors can take a tour of the factory and even get at free kazoo lesson.

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