When business slowed a few years ago, custom thermoformer Say Plastics Inc. looked locally for new opportunities.
What the company found was a need for large, wide-mouth containers for snack foods. Area snack-food companies were turning to the wide-mouth containers to produce large quantities for sale at the warehouse-type clubs. Ron Staub, Say general manager, said snack-food companies are set up to put their products in foil or bags.
The McSherrystown, Pa., company responded to the demand by investing $1.5 million in a stretch blow molding line last year, and a second $1.5 million line this year.
``We had worked with a lot of companies over the years and had a good relationship with a lot of those companies, but we knew we had to invest in equipment to stay competitive,'' Staub said in an Aug. 11 telephone interview.
The firm got help from state and local authorities, including low-cost loans and a three-year, $70,000 state grant for training. Say has added eight employees and now has a staff of 17 in its 17,000-square-foot facility.
``We are trying to find the cracks where the big guys won't go,'' Staub said. ``But we first had to prove we could do it.''
The company was started 18 years ago by the late William Smith and William Yingling. Smith's son, Louis, now is president and sole owner.
Say had carved its niche as a custom thermoformer, providing materials-handling trays for many Fortune 500 companies. The company started blow molding in May 2003. The operation now runs 24 hours, seven days a week.
Staub said blow molding already accounts for about 50 percent of the company's annual sales. However, he noted that thermoforming is picking up.