Custom Service Plastics Inc. is nearly quadrupling its space in moving 15 miles to Lake Geneva, Wis., and adding three Van Dorn presses.
Minoo Seifoddini, president and owner, has committed nearly $1.7 million to the project. She purchased the business in April 2000 from LeRoy Scheimann and has dramatically altered the company's orientation and operations. Custom Service opened in 1988.
Within her first three months of taking control, two major customers pulled their work, forcing the company to change. Seifoddini scrambled to line up replacements to complement six small accounts she inherited.
Now the Burlington, Wis.-based firm has 83 customers in industrial, agricultural, medical, and electronic industries. About 40 percent of the work involves automotive-related customers such as Cummins Inc.'s Fleetguard Inc. business unit and a Fleetguard operation, Kuss Filtration; Caterpillar Inc.; CNH Global NV; Navistar International Corp.; and Strattec Security Corp.
The existing leased 12,000 square feet in Burlington are cramped and too small, and Seifoddini began exploring alternative sites in mid-2002. She acquired a 40-year-old industrial building in Lake Geneva for more than $920,000 in September and anticipates beginning operations there in 47,000 square feet in January. The site occupies 14.4 acres and is suited for facility expansion.
The firm invested more than $700,000 for infrastructure improvements and primary and secondary equipment including four heating units, three grinders and two dryers, said John Stewart, vice president. He joined the firm in 2001 and led a successful effort to obtain ISO 9000:2000 and QS 9000 registrations.
Once relocated, Custom will have 16 injection molding machines with clamping forces of 70-450 tons. The equipment includes the three new Van Dorn hydraulic presses of 400, 220 and 120 tons. All were delivered Dec. 3. The custom injection molding services include prototyping and assembly work.
Custom received funding for the building and renovation through the First Banking Center in Lake Geneva and the Wisconsin Business Development Corp. in Waukesha, Wis. In October, the firm obtained a 10-year, low-interest, $100,000 loan for equipment through the State of Wisconsin's Minority Business Development Fund. Custom employs 30 now and may have 40 by mid-2004.
``We could be in the 50-70 range in 2005,'' Stewart said. Under the loan agreement, Custom committed to creating 31 new positions by 2007.
In May, the National Minority Supplier Development Council of Wisconsin named Custom as its supplier of the year.
The U.S. Small Business Administration classifies Custom as a small disadvantaged business.
For 10 years, Seifoddini has taught an evening design techniques course to engineering students as an adjunct professor at the Milwaukee campus of the University of Wisconsin. She received a master's degree in manufacturing engineering from the university in 1993.
Custom is on track to exceed $3.4 million in 2003 sales, vs. the $2.5 million it recorded last year.