In 1985, Carol Cox and Myrna Seiler decided they wanted to do something more than answer phones for their husbands' construction company. It just so happened that a relative had a small company that assembled fuel connectors for the boating industry, and switch assemblies for the electronics industry. They raised the funds and purchased the company, Four Seasons Industries in Garretts-ville, Ohio. For awhile, it was just Cox and Seiler, along with a few family members and friends as part-time employees.
``Myrna [who is president] and I would take turns working in the shop and in the office,'' said Cox, who is secretary/treasurer. ``We started when it was hard, but it's much easier now.''
In spite of the difficulties, business grew. It was not long before their husbands decided that manufacturing held more appeal than construction. In 1986, Seiler's husband, Butch Nelson, joined the women in Four Seasons. Nelson has a background in plastics extrusion.
Meanwhile, Cox's husband, Gary, gradually phased out the construction company and joined the group in 1990. Today the men work as general managers. The two couples have been both friends and business partners for over 27 years, something that is not easily done.
When an opportunity came along to assemble plastic spray nozzle components for lawn and garden fertilizer equipment, Cox and Seiler decided they would get into the molding business. Five years ago they bought their first injection molding press.
Today the company operates six molding presses, four of those with 200 tons of clamping force. Two were purchased and in-stalled in February, including a Cincinnati Milacron press with 150 tons of clamping force and a 75-ton Van Dorn Demag.
In 1992, Four Seasons bought an acre in an industrial park and built a 12,000-square-foot plant. In 1994 the company added 10,000 square feet. Cox and Seiler recently purchased an additional half acre on which to expand the plant even more. Four Seasons now serves the small appliance, toy, automotive, and lawn and garden industries.
While expanding the physical space, Four Seasons expanded its manufacturing capabilities as well. Eighteen months ago, Four Seasons purchased two Davis-Standard extruders capable of extruding 2- to 21/2-inch profiles.
Four Seasons also has incorporated robotics and automated assembly, and upgraded the plant with a new computer system.
Recently, Gary Cox Jr., son of Carol and Gary, joined the company, working as a jack-of-all-trades.
``We're trying to teach him every aspect of the business,'' said Cox.
Sean Seiler plans to join the company after he graduates in December from the University of Akron (Ohio).
Cox said she and Seiler enjoy the industry. Whenever they go into a store they look at items and wonder aloud if they could make them at Four Seasons.
``It's nice to see the products that you produce in the stores,'' Cox said. ``It's great being a part of making everyday products.''