After 69 years in operation, Regal Plastic Co. is planning to lock its doors by the end of April.
President Alan Bashor said a number of issues that ``just kept closing in on us'' led to the end of the Kansas City, Mo.-based thermoformer.
``During the winter of 2001, as the economy began to slow down, our most important product line - the Regal line of material-handling products - dropped like a rock,'' he said.
The line had accounted for as much as 60 percent of Regal's sales, he said. In 2001 it had accounted for 20 percent. During the past 10 years, Regal had seen its sales reach as high as $5 million. After the events of Sept. 11, Bashor said, its custom accounts dropped off as well.
``We saw customers going from giving us 12- to 16-month blanket orders to just one just-in-time,'' he said.
Stopol Auction Services of Solon, Ohio, will have a liquidation sale of Regal's assets, valued by Bashor at about $250,000, the week of April 8. Fabri-Form Co. of Byesville, Ohio, bought Regal's materials-handling product line, which includes trays and pallets, for an undisclosed amount. Fabri-Form has been making the line since March 1, said John Knight, Fabri-Form's president and chief executive officer.
``This fits a little hole we had in our distribution services product line,'' he said. ``We have sleeve packs and pallets, but not totes.''
Regal operated one 50,000-square-foot plant in Kansas City with nine machines. At its height, it employed 55. On Feb. 21, its last production day, it employed nine.
Bashor said he had found a buyer to take over the business, but around Thanksgiving the negotiations broke down.
He said he was happy that its materials-handling line will continue to live on with Fabri-Form.
``I'm pleased with the fact that our customers, who've been buying our containers for 50 years, will still have a place to go to buy them,'' he said. ``We have molds we made in the '50s that are still running.''