Rochester Rotational Molding Inc. now has a location in Florida.
The Rochester, Ind., rotational molding firm began operating a 30,000-square-foot leased site in Lakeland, Fla., about one month ago, with 30 employees.
``We have been selling a lot of tanks to Florida,'' President Marilyn Wade said in an April 8 telephone interview. ``We were shipping a lot of air.''
The site has one double-shuttle machine, and officials plan to install a smaller machine eventually.
The company now is focused on proprietary products, including septic and pump tanks, tank accessories and water storage tanks, and barriers for crowd control.
``We had been strictly a custom molder in the past,'' Wade said, with custom products accounting for about 95 percent of her firm's business. ``We're trying to make that a little less custom and more proprietary.''
The growth initiatives are a welcome relief from the same time a year ago, when Rochester was recovering from a fire that damaged its headquarters site in February 2003. Wade said the cause never was determined. The blaze started in the oven of Rochester's larger machine, a shuttle unit with a 15-foot swing. The 17,000-square-foot headquarters site now is a steel-frame building rather than wood, and has better lighting.
``We were able to rebuild the oven and rebuild the building,'' Wade said. ``Out of everything bad comes something good. It's just a much nicer facility than what we had.''
Companies that normally were competitors helped Rochester through that time.
``The other molders that helped us get through that were just phenomenal,'' Wade said. ``We could not have done it without our relationships with other molders. We would not have been able to keep our customers.''