by Luke Small
Mar 08, 2012
Perhaps you have seen one around town—a tall, slender pole supporting a barn-like structure with various holes on the side. You may have had to take a second look or perhaps you recognized it immediately—as one of the iconic symbols of business in the metro area.
The item is a birdhouse, created and designed by Mac Teague, who, at 82 years young, is still churning out over twenty bird houses a day at his location at I-35 and 82nd Street.
“I can’t gripe a bit in the world,” Mac said about his time doing business in Oklahoma City. “Oklahoma, and especially Oklahoma City, is one of the finest places you could ever start a business.”
Back in 1951, Mac started a sign business, aptly named Mac Signs. Over three decades of work got Mac in the mood for building something else. So he created his own Mac birdhouses, made of plastic and not wood. Using a wooden mold and a machine that looks like it stepped out of the 19th century, Mac’s employee, Lupe, heats the plastic and forms it around the mold. I say employee because that’s pretty much the extent of Mac’s workforce. Well, other than his family.
Mac’s wife and two daughters help run the shop with him. They don’t let him run the shop without some good-natured ribbing, which creates a fun atmosphere when customers walk in the door.
“It’s really been a joy to be in business,” Mac said.
Mac’s birdhouses are designed for a variety of different birds, including his most famous martin houses, which help attract purple martins. The martin houses can reach as high as seventeen feet and can be fitted with a crank for easy lowering. If you are looking for something much smaller, Mac has small birdhouses in the shape of a church. And if you are nervous about putting up a seventeen-foot birdhouse, no worries!
“We’ll actually go out and put a birdhouse up for them,” Mac said.
Mac may be called a “builder extraordinaire.” He even built the complex where his business is now. He sold it about six years ago and he jokingly says the new owner, “let him stay.” So if you think this 82-year-old businessman is planning on hanging it up, think again.
“No, I’m ready to build something else,” Mac said.
The longevity of Mac’s business career mirrors the durability of his products. When Mac used to go to the state fair, he would stand on the birdhouses to show how strong they were. These days he is taking his birdhouses across the state line to Branson, MO. But the compliments he gets from Oklahoma City customers are what keep him going.
“‘I’ve seen your birdhouses all over town and I really think they’re nice,’” Mac said one customer told him the other day. It is the kind of compliment Mac has received for many years—and one we hope will continue for years to come.