CHICAGO — In the face of a changing custom molding industry, one company has chosen to change the way it does business.
Al Smith, owner and president of Almar Molded Products Inc. of Nashville, Tenn., rolled out a new proprietary product and a new sales arm at the National Hardware Show, Aug. 16-19 in Chicago.
``Over the last two to four years the custom molding industry has changed dramatically,'' Smith said at the show. ``Thirty percent of the business has headed to Mexico. Now the same pool of people [in the United States] is chasing after 70 percent of the same business.''
To keep his 10 injection presses and 40 employees busy, Smith bought two product lines, revamped their look and packaged them as a kit, which he unveiled at the show. Smith and his family created a new company, Emma Sales LLC., to market the product. Smith's daughter-in-law, Cheryl Smith, is president of Emma; his son, Mike, is vice president of sales for both Emma and Almar.
The new Window Trim Kit is made of bright-orange, post-industrial polypropylene. It consists of a pan to hold different sizes of paint cans, sponge brushes, a collar with pockets for the brushes and a disposable, razor-blade scraper. The package is expected to retail for less than $5.
Almar had built the molds and molded the handle of the scraper for another company. The rest of the package had been marketed by Ladco Industries of Leominster, Mass. Ladco owner Lidio Dinardo is shifting into consultant work and wanted to sell off some of his product line.
``We've had a fair number of legitimate leads,'' Smith said. A number of export outfits expressed interest in the trim kit. ``We could be going the other direction with Asia,'' he said.
Smith is looking to boost Almar's proprietary work to 50 percent of the plant's capacity.