Three resin distribution firms that were launched in the second half of 2009 are exceeding expectations.
Officials with Alliance Polymers & Services LLC, Quality Resin Solutions and Ipex Specialty Products Inc. each said sales in late 2009 and the first half of 2010 were ahead of the pace they had expected.
Sales have been going up every month since we opened in October, said Stephane Morin, a principal with Romulus, Mich.-based Alliance. We're getting calls from new customers every week.
Alliance so far has distributed Elastollan-brand thermoplastic polyurethane for BASF Corp. In July, Alliance will begin distributing styrenic block copolymer compounds for Chinese compounder Polymax Elastomer Technology Co. Ltd. of Nantong.
Alliance has benefited from a stronger-than-expected rebound in the North American automotive sector, Morin explained.
Auto was really surprising at the beginning of the year, he said. Our volume there has been twice as strong as what we had thought. A lot of auto suppliers are replenishing inventory, especially in Ohio, Michigan and Kentucky.
Alliance has made sales throughout North America in its brief history, with most orders ranging between 2,000 and 4,000 pounds.
I think small molders have been happy to work with us because they don't have to wait three to 12 weeks for delivery, Morin said.
Early growth at QRS has owner Hudson Color Concentrates already looking for additional space, said Hudson sales and marketing Vice President David Boudreau.
QRS has been using a 45,000-square-foot warehouse in Hudson, N.H., and additional warehousing space in Niles, Ill. Both QRS and Hudson are based in Leominster, Mass. QRS opened in December, distributing commodity and engineering resins in both prime and wide-spec grades, as well as a variety of additives.
We started out doing less-than-truckload, but lately have been getting larger orders, Boudreau said. We've taken orders ranging from 10,000 pounds to multiple rail cars.
QRS distributed more than 4 million pounds of resin in the first quarter of 2010. The initial success of QRS also has opened up sales opportunities for Hudson in the specialty color market, Boudreau added.
At Ipex, the firm started Sept. 1 and really hit the ground running in January, owner Jeff Martin said.
Our first four months were very strong, he said. We were able to do a lot of relationship selling.
Ipex now is distributing almost 3 million pounds per month of generic prime and wide-spec grades of polypropylene, polyethylene and polystyrene, as well as filled PP compounds. The firm also recently began handling some ABS and styrene acrylonitrile resins.
Ipex is based in Hudson, Ohio, but will move its headquarters to Wilmington, Del., when Martin relocates there in late June. The firm owns a warehouse in Allentown. Pa., and has been using public warehousing in Ohio, Michigan and Georgia.
Currently, Ipex employs six sales representatives. Martin said two more reps will be added by the end of the year.
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