Drinkware makers Betras Plastics Inc. of Spartanburg, S.C., and Dallas-based Thermo-Serv Ltd. have merged to create New Thermo-Serv Ltd., doing business as Thermo-Serv Betras.
Betras Plastics officials will relocate to Dallas and phase out operations at the plant in Spartanburg, where the firm has been for 24 years. The move will affect about 90 employees in Spartanburg; 10 will relocate to Dallas.
Betras President Joe Betras will serve as president and chief creative officer of Betras Group under the new company structure. Thermo-Serv's Jay Rigby will serve as chairman and chief executive officer, and Nathan Long will be chief operating officer and president of the entire company. Rigby and Long are partners in Thermo-Serv, which also has backing from a private equity group.
``We don't look at it as a bad thing,'' Joe Betras said in an April 21 telephone interview. ``We really hate to leave. The last few years have been extremely difficult. We couldn't stay the same. We could either go down or go up. We chose to go up. It's the only way we could have survived. This is going to make both of us stronger together.''
The deal was sealed April 19. No cash was exchanged. Joe Betras said the move is a perfect fit as both companies are in plastic drinkware, but each has different strengths. Betras is strong in retail, while Thermo-Serv is strong in convenience stores. Betras has strength in serving amusement parks, while Thermo-Serv is strong in the specialty advertising arena.
``They acquired our assets and we merged, and for that, we became shareholders,'' Joe Betras said of the structure that includes his wife, Henya Betras, as shareholder. She has been Betras' executive vice president and now will begin her own specialty advertising business.
Betras will move its molds, packaging and printing equipment to Dallas, playing on Thermo-Serv's strength of in-house molding capacity. Betras always relied on custom molders.
``We were basically getting squeezed out,'' he said, noting that 1990 was its biggest year, when it did $34 million in business and had 500 employees.
``We could only dream of ever being back there,'' he said. After that, business began to decline and market share continuously deteriorated to overseas business. The market dwindled from a dozen players in the U.S. market to now two.