ZEELAND, MICH. - Noel Cuellar, majority owner and president of Primera Plastics Inc., a start-up molding operation, is hungry. ``We want to take it gradually,'' he said. ``But if the work is there, we'll go for it.''
Primera began production late last year and currently has two customers, an automotive parts company and a mold maker that does short tryout runs on new tools. Cuellar, whose background is in automotive molding, hopes to expand his business into the appliance, office furniture and toy industries.
Zeeland-based Primera is in the Grand Rapids area, which is home to furniture makers Steelcase Inc., Herman Miller Inc. and Haworth Inc. The molder also is situated near several large auto parts makers, including Donnelly
Corp., Prince Corp. and Gentex Corp.
Primera operates two JSW presses, an 80-ton machine and a 165-ton model. In March, Cuellar said the company will take delivery on two more JSW presses, one with clamping force of 85 tons and one with 165 tons.
Cuellar, who now is operating out of leased space in Zeeland, said he hopes to have his own building within three years. The company has three full-time and three part-time employees.
The company's minority status - Cuellar is Hispanic - will be important in gaining new business, but that factor alone will not be enough to succeed, said Ethan Barde, vice president and part owner of the business.
``The minority status is what gets us in the door, but quality is what will keep us there,'' he said.
Adds Cuellar: ``We love plastics. That's what drives us.''