Jack Kelley has closed JK Molds Inc. in Upland, Calif., and sold its assets to Mag Instrument Inc. of Ontario, Calif. Terms were not disclosed.
It is a tough business, Kelley said in a telephone interview. I have hundreds of [past] customers in my Rolodex, and most are missing or gone.
On Jan. 11, Kelley internally disclosed his decision to close the leased 25,000-square-foot shop, and soon he received two offers including the proposal from privately held Mag for an asset purchase. JK Molds employed 32 as recently as August and had 2009 sales of about $3.9 million after hitting $6 million in 2005.
Anthony Maglica heads Mag Instrument, which pursues a domestic vertically integrated manufacturing concept and has achieved success and global recognition for its high-quality Mag-Lite, Mini Maglite and related products.
Maglica started the flashlight business in a Los Angeles garage in 1955 and remains adamant about controlling his manufacturing processes under one roof.
Mag products contain numerous plastic components although anodized aluminum is used for the principal construction.
The transaction was completed Feb. 5, and Mag moved the equipment from Upland to Ontario during the week of Feb. 7, said Jason Van Noy, JK Molds' managing partner and Kelley's stepson.
It includes an integrated manufacturing cell, computer numerically controlled mills and lathes, electrical-discharge machines, grinders and, for sampling and prototypes, six injection molding machines of 40-400 tons.
For Kelley, 69, the closing is bittersweet. As a young man in Upland, he had a neighbor who was a mold maker and encouraged Kelley to learn the trade.
Kelley founded his own mold- making shop in 1968 and was involved as an owner in several injection molding businesses.
In recent years attempting to help staunch the offshore flow of mold-making work, he invested millions of dollars at JK Molds for capital equipment and machine upgrades to automate and, in many cases, robotically produce close-tolerance tools, largely for medical applications.
JK Molds obtained ISO registration, added a new technical center, moved toward internal radio-frequency-identification work tracking and collaborated with customers on turnkey projects.
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