In another growth step for the 4-year-old company, custom thermoformer Portage Plastics Corp. will merge its two plants in Portage, Wis., into a single, larger facility there by August.
The Portage-based company also plans to open a production site in Texas a year from now, said Anthony Domerchie, vice president of sales and marketing. The plant will be the first for Portage in the South, other than warehouse space in El Paso, Texas. The firm is scouting locations.
``We have a large contingent of business in Mexico and need to be near the border,'' Domerchie said.
In Wisconsin, the firm will move to a 10-acre site and build a 60,000-square-foot plant for thin-gauge thermoforming. The site has room to expand to 100,000 square feet if needed, Domerchie said.
The company plans to invest close to $2 million in the building and spent about $100,000 for the acreage, he said. The building will offer warehouse space larger than what is available in the two current locations.
Equipment needs still must be determined, but the thermoformer will add at least one high-speed production line, Domerchie said. It currently has five lines at two buildings in Portage. Together, those plants have about 50,000 square feet of space.
Portage Plastics includes former employees of Portage Industries Corp., a sheet and roll-stock extruder and thermoforming company. Clayton, Mo.-based Spartech Corp. bought Portage Industries in early 1996.
The four partners owning Portage Plastics acquired some of the assets of Spartech's new thermoforming operation and started their own company in March 1997. A Spartech sheet extrusion facility also is in Portage, and the companies maintain a relationship.
Portage Plastics also has made strides on its own. It opened a second plant and has added four warehouse sites since 1997.
The thermoformer specializes in high-speed, high-volume products in such areas as food, medical, industrial electronics and consumer packaging. Products include food and drink containers and trays and blister and clamshell packaging.
Sales are expected to grow 10-15 percent in 2002, from about $11.5 million recorded last year, Domerchie said. Besides its plans to open a facility in Texas, the company will develop existing business and look at acquisition opportunities, he said.
The company has 75 employees but will expand once the Wisconsin and Texas plants open, Domerchie said.
``We've grown the business every year,'' Domerchie said.