Rodger Calder won't buy new machinery. He won't assume too much debt. The owner of toolmaker and injection molder American Molded Products Inc., based in Salt Lake City, won't let overseas competition dampen his day.
``I've been around long enough now to have lived through five recessions,'' Calder said. ``The story that they're saying now, singing the blues about China, I've heard that over and over. We keep going through this because we're not willing to pay the price of products we make at home.''
His company has had its bad times. In 2002, sales slowed about 40 percent from 2001. Now his business is focused on selling proprietary products to the construction market, after nearly 37 years as a custom molder.
Calder has renamed the firm AmPro USA Inc. The custom molding division's name will remain American Molded Products. He said he wants to sell 20 percent of the firm now and by early 2005 the rest of it so he can retire.
The firm employs six and has six presses at its 6,200-square-foot plant.
``We're wall-to-wall machinery and we make very good use of our space,'' Calder said. ``At the end of the year, we'll be at 100 percent of current capacity. We'll probably move into a new facility.''
What has encouraged such growth is a focus on proprietary products for municipal and gas utilities. During the past two years, AmPro has introduced 33 products for that market, including locking valve-box lids molded from commercial-grade polycarbonate/ABS alloy.
``We now have tens of thousands of our lids in place, and we've never had a single product failure,'' Calder said.
Getting the product accepted by customers was a test, as AmPro battled bureaucracy.
But AmPro's perseverance has paid off, Calder said, as he expects $2 million in sales from proprietary products in 2004. In 2003, AmPro had proprietary product sales of $50,000. Total company sales were $480,000.