Jacobson Plastics Inc. is moving two blocks in Long Beach, adding injection and rotational molding equipment and finding niches in construction and the automotive aftermarket.
The move should be complete by September, said President Jeff Jacobson. He acquired 50,000 square feet for $3 million - a price he estimates is about 46 percent below market for comparable properties.
The business occupies a total of 27,000 square feet now. He plans to sell the 13,400-square-foot area it owns; the rest is leased space.
The company hopes to qualify for a rebate from Southern California Edison for installing energy-efficient fixtures and equipment.
``We are spending close to $1 million for the remodeling,'' Jacobson said during a recent plant tour, adding that he plans to install recently purchased machines at the new site in phases.
``Then we will leapfrog other machines, one at a time, to keep production going 24 hours a day without interruption,'' he said.
The firm began operating one rotomolding machine from NW Rotofab Inc. and a Rotospeed from Ferry Industries Inc. in early June, said Joe Armendarez, the firm's rotomolding director. Each machine operates with three independent arms.
Jacobson Plastics acquired other Rotospeeds in 2000 and 2002, picked up another Rotofab in 2003 and added a Rotational Engineering Inc. two-arm swinger in early 2005.
During the summer, Jacobson plans to purchase two more injection molding machines, probably around 200 tons, and start them in the new quarters. Currently, the firm operates 12 injection molding machines of 35-500 tons.
``We just sold a 1,150-ton machine that was too big'' for current needs, Jacobson said.
Jacobson Plastics had 2005 sales of $5.9 million, and he projects reaching $7.2 million this year, with rotomolding generating $3.5 million, injection molding $2.7 million and automotive aftermarket accessories and products $1 million.
The firm manufactures internally about 40 percent of the automotive volume under the Vertically Driven Products brand. The VDP business evolved after customer Steelhorse Automotive Accessories Inc. of Compton, Calif., an automotive aftermarket manufacturer and distributor, filed for protection under Chapter 7 of the U.S. Bankruptcy Code in late 2002.
Now, Jacobson produces a 28-page VDP catalog and distributes the automotive line mostly through nationwide mail-order and retail channels.
``We are looking to add to the aftermarket automotive product line,'' Jacobson said. A pending acquisition involves the Shelf-It storage line for pickup trucks and sport utility vehicles.
Targeting tailgate party fans, Jacobson created a rotomolded, linear low density polyethylene container that attaches to a pickup's wheel well, primarily for ice chests or utility storage. The cost: $175 per pair.
Adding optional 6-inch-by-9-inch marine-grade audio speakers brings the cost to $229 per pair. An iPod plug-and-play device is another option.
Other rotomolded products include storage covering caps for jet engine cowls, Hobie Cat mast float bobs, sharps disposal container trolleys for Becton, Dickinson & Co., fuel tanks for personal watercraft and motorcycles, stereo speaker boxes, Callaway Golf Co. club demonstration displays, golf course tee markers, and housings for automotive center consoles, speakers, carpet cleaners and backpack vacuums.
One new product is a little different: ``I landed a new account to rotomold small toy soldiers and tanks,'' Armendarez said.
Since 2003, ``we have seen a huge influx of patented products for the building industry,'' including polymer flashing panels for construction utility feeds, Jacobson said.
The firm employs 80, and Jacobson expects to add 20 within a year. Jacobson holds about 40 patents.
In May, the Long Beach Commercial Real Estate Council recognized Jacobson Plastics with its Norm Reed Business of the Year Award.