After 31 years in business, color compounder Standridge Color Corp. is venturing outside its home state of Georgia for the first time, with plans to open a $1.8 million plant in Defiance, Ohio, by the end of the year.
``We've got a healthy customer base in [the Midwest] and we were looking for an opportunity to grow,'' said Robby Farmer, sales manager for Social Circle, Ga.-based Standridge.
The plant will cover almost 29,000 square feet and will employ 20 while operating five extrusion lines, a color lab and testing equipment. Defiance County also received a $200,000 grant from the Ohio Department of Development to build a rail spur for the plant.
The new site will be Standridge's third, joining plants in Social Circle and Greensboro, Ga. The firm's last major expansion took place in 2001, when it added 40,000 square feet of manufacturing space at the Greensboro plant, which opened in 1999.
The Defiance plant will produce Standridge's full line of color compounds and concentrates, which are based on a range of commodity and engineering resins, Farmer said in a Sept. 7 telephone interview. Standridge's sales are spread over a number of markets, including fibers, packaging, film, injection molding and blow molding, he added.
Project manager Henry Stowe said the central location of the Defiance site to a number of those markets gave it the edge over other locations Standridge had been considering. The firm also is looking into satellite locations, but has no definite plans in place, Farmer said. Standridge's preference would be to build sites rather than buying an existing plant, he said.
In a practice that may be unique among independent compounders, Standridge makes all its own extrusion equipment and machinery. When owner Bob Standridge launched the firm in 1971, he was in the business of building and selling control and metering systems for delivering liquid color to plastics.
In 1977 his company began representing a pair of concentrate makers, and in 1979 the firm began its own concentrate production. Over time, the focus of the business shifted from equipment sales to color concentrates.
Bob Standridge remains the firm's sole owner.
Today Standridge has annual sales of $150 million and 350 employees. The company operates about 100 extrusion lines and has annual capacity of more than 300 million pounds.