In the past two years, CD Concept Inc., an Elgin, Ill.-based custom injection molder, has faced challenges and climbed out of financial distress. This month the company received an award to prove it.
CD Concept was awarded one of seven Blue Chip Enterprise awards for Illinois, and one of 177 nationwide. The awards go to businesses that have faced and overcome adversity. Sponsors include life insurance firm MassMutual, the U.S. Chamber of Commerce and Nation's Business magazine.
When Thomas P. Thomas, CD Concept executive vice president and part owner, and Dale Harrison, general manager, joined the firm in July 1997, they took on a company that was $300,000 in debt. According to Thomas, the bank was threatening foreclosure.
In less than two years, the company has repaired relations with suppliers and customers, developed new market segments and managed to generate $3.5 million in annual sales.
The first step back was convincing American Chartered Bank of Schaumburg, Ill., to take over CD Concept's credit.
``When we took over their credit, they had just come off a heavy loss,'' said Jim Olson, senior vice president of the bank. ``We felt [the new owners'] business plan made a lot of sense. The company has made a remarkable turnaround.''
Two of CD Concept's largest customers noticed the considerable change. Molor Products Co. of Oswego, Ill., has been a CD Concept customer for 11 years. Ace Lorenzana, owner and president, said the new owners are ``more attentive to our needs'' and have improved on delivery and quality.
Chris Thompson, materials manager at Milwaukee-based paint applicator manufacturer EZ Paintr Corp., said the new owners have taken ``an active role in the company's practices and procedures.'' He said the overall quality has improved and found a consistency.
Thomas and one of his partners plan to leave CD Concept when his contract is up at the end of the year. Now that the company is back on its feet, he plans to sell his shares and look for other business opportunities.
CD Concept has 11 presses with clamping forces of 100-500 tons, and recently bought a 750-ton press. The company serves markets across the board, including medical, entertainment and consumer products.