Thermoforming equipment maker American Plastic Machinery Corp. ceased operations June 6.
The business in Great Bend, Kan., employed seven, according to Gary Gore, president of the Great Bend Chamber of Commerce and the city's economic development director. Gore confirmed the closing.
APM was ``a decent concern,'' but lacked orders for its equipment, long-time supplier Aaron Maresch said by telephone.
Richard Hockmuth operated APM as president until his death in March 2001 at the age of 46. His widow, Darlene Hockmuth, continued the business with the assistance of her brother, Gary Smith.
APM contracted with Aaron's Repair and Supply Inc. in Great Bend, for machining and fabrication of components and product assembly.
The product line included single stations, double enders, rotaries, roller die cuts, pressure formers and continuous in-line thermoformers, according to Maresch, president and owner of Aaron's Repair.
Maresch personally owned the building in which APM operated.
The failure of another machine maker, Heartland Thermoforming Equipment Inc. in Great Bend, prompted Richard Hockmuth and other Heartland employees to form APM in August 1992. Heartland went into business in 1986 and also relied on Aaron's Repair for technical expertise, machining and fabrication. Hockmuth had been Heartland's vice president of operations.
During 1992, Heartland President Simon Gaysinsky abandoned the business and fled to Chile after a major customer perceived flaws in - and refused to pay for - a large piece of Heartland-made equipment. Heartland filed for bankruptcy protection in October 1992, and APM purchased Heartland's customer machine files at a public auction in November 1992 in order to continue serving those accounts. An economic development program provided long-term funding to help APM in getting started.
APM is current on repaying the city and Barton County on June 2001 community development block-grant loans, according to Patty Richardson, executive director with regional service provider Great Plains Development Inc.
The city and county are each owed about $59,000 on separate original revolving loans of $70,000 each. ``We will work with the county attorney and city attorney and try to liquidate'' available APM assets, she said by telephone.
Dale Pike, a Great Bend lawyer, represents APM in ongoing discussions with creditors and possible purchasers of APM assets including technology.
Remaining APM assets are probably insufficient to warrant an auction, Maresch said.