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Compounder Opticolor expanding in California

By: Frank Esposito

March 25, 2014

Visions of growth are leading compounder Opticolor Inc. to add capacity and move to a larger site in its hometown of Huntington Beach, Calif.

The 19-year-old firm plans to move to a 30,000-square-foot site — roughly double the size of its current spot — by early 2015, national sales and marketing manager Jennifer Bryan said in a March 19 phone interview.

Opticolor — which specializes in compounds used in optical and lighting applications — also recently added its fifth extrusion line and will add its sixth by the end of the year. Both are twin-screw lines. Growth also is prompting the firm to add 5-10 jobs this year to its current work force of 30.

In the optical market, Opticolor makes polycarbonate compounds used in lenses and nylon compounds that are used in eyeglass frames. For lighting applications such as skylights, the firm produces compounds based on PC and acrylic resins.

The new site is less than 10 miles away from Opticolor’s current location. “We were basically out of space,” Bryan said. She added that the firm has been averaging sales growth of 10 percent in recent years.

Opticolor’s annual sales are between $10 million and $15 million. The firm was founded in 1995 by Dan Neufeld, who continues to serve as its president.

On the new product front, Opticolor recently introduced OptiFrost-brand compounds, which officials said offer full light diffusion while providing absolute clarity and brightness with some of the highest levels of light transmission.

Company officials added that Opticolor can match or improve on most lighting profile lens material, including lenses requiring light diffusing films. Doing so provides significant cost savings to the firm’s clients, officials said.

Opticolor also will take a big step in 2015 when it exhibits for the first time at the NPE trade show in Orlando. The firm also recently added a new sales and color lab management team.

“We’re very excited to see what the next decade brings, as our family-like company continues to grow,” Neufeld said in a news release.

Bryan joined Opticolor in 2012, but she has a lengthy history in the plastics and metals market. Her father, Gary Bryan, is vice president of operations at compounder Chroma Corp. in McHenry, Ill. Jennifer Bryan worked there briefly before spending a total of 21 years with metal bakeware maker Chicago Metallic and metal products maker Lockwood Manufacturing.

She then worked for two years with her brother, David Bryan, at manufacturer’s rep ProTech LLC. David Bryan currently is a regional account manager for Canadian compounder CCC Plastics. Her nephew Joshua Bryan — David’s son — also works as a sales rep for ProTech.

“Every company I’ve worked for in my 25-year career has been a family-owned and operated manufacturing company in plastics and metal,” Jennifer Bryan said.