Appleton-based company BoxBlox manufactures mailbox protectors to prevent snow damage
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APPLETON – As winter rapidly approaches, a new Fox Cities business is offering a solution to an issue homeowners often face at this time of year.
BoxBlox is an Appleton-based company that manufactures mailbox protectors. Wisconsin resident Matt Schalewski founded BoxBlox in May 2020 after seeing the toll that the harsh winter months can take on mailboxes, especially in rural areas that experience significant snowfall.
“It was really the epiphany of driving in rural areas and seeing the damage (to mailboxes),” Schalewski told The Post-Crescent. “If you take any sort of short or medium drive out into the country, and just pay attention to mailboxes, you’re going to see a variety of configurations out there.”
The problem isn’t snowplows themselves striking mailboxes, but rather the force of the snow and ice being thrown against mailboxes by plows. For example, a plow driving along a rural road at 50 mph throwing 5 inches of snow is going to have a strong impact, Schalewski said.
Some common home solutions that might be seen during the winter include mailboxes duct-taped or tethered via bungee cord to their posts.
Schalewski hopes to offer a safer and more effective solution.
“It kind of struck me that there’s really nothing that is retail-ready that is able to be purchased and easily installed out there,” he said. “I just wanted something to be developed where it would be basically ready to go right out of the box, easy setup, and still be really durable and be able to survive the Wisconsin winters.”
BoxBlox’s mailbox protector is a standalone 24- by 32-inch plastic shield, large enough to cover both a mailbox and its post. Behind the plastic are two steel poles, which are driven into the ground. There is usually no digging necessary because of the angles at which the poles are oriented, according to Schalewski. The mailbox protector is simple to remove if desired and is collapsible for convenient storage. It also follows U.S. Postmaster guidance and mailbox regulations.
The plastic used in the product is ABS plastic, which is resistant against both cold-weather temperature fluctuation and sun damage, Schalewski said. The plastic is also ideal for high-impact situations. The steel used in the poles is coated in liquid rubber, which prevents corrosion from salt on streets during the winter.
Most of BoxBlox’s business has been online. In addition to its own website, BoxBlox is active on Amazon and Etsy. Schalewski said his busiest times of the year are during the changing of seasons, namely April and October.
Although the mailbox protectors are popular in Wisconsin, BoxBlox has also had a significant amount of out-of-state business in the Midwest and northeast United States. BoxBlox often sells to areas that experience lake effect snow, including western Michigan, northern Ohio and western New York.
“We follow the snow, so that’s pretty expected,” Schalewski said.