Custom converter Tru-Vision Plastics Inc. is working to prove that slow and steady can win the race.
The company in Brenham, Texas, recently moved into a new 80,000-square-foot facility — an upgrade from its previous 24,000-square-foot digs — invested in new equipment and added three full-time positions.
Compared to the big packaging players, it's a small expansion, but that's just fine with President and CEO Ted Dean.
“Sometimes, everyone thinks we make these big, big plans, but I just want to do the best we can right now,” he said by phone.
Tru-Vision opened in 1999 with Dean, two other employees, and one die-cutting converter. The company has grown steadily since; it now employs 14 full-time and several seasonal workers, serves major brands like Frito-Lay and Venture Foods, and has outgrown two expansions, Dean said.
“It's been going well and [it's been] a fairly steady growth,” he said. “It's not been crazy.”
The company manufactures safety equipment, like visors and lenses, and retail merchandising products. Its biggest product, an adhesive retail merchandise display strip named the Stic-N-Pic, has been its key to success, Dean said.
Retailers use the strips to display items, like cosmetics or bags of chips, on end caps or at point-of-sale locations. The strips of high density polyethylene have spots of adhesive, instead of S-hooks or clips, designed to hold a variety of packages.
Tru-Vision also sells its Auto-Stic machine, which is integrated into packaging lines and attaches items to the display strips prior to shipping. Dean, who also serves as Tru-Vision's engineer, designed the machine at the request of a customer. It has since garnered a lot of interest, but Dean doesn't intend to expand the company's machine line.
“We make the machine with the intent to sell the strips and make it better and more efficient for our customers,” he said. “We're in the strip business, not the machine business.”
Last year was Tru-Vision's most successful — the company had $2.4 million in sales in 2011 and should sell more than $3 million this year, Dean said. Though the company is working to break into the South American market, its focus is on expanding capacity and efficiency, not chasing new customers, he said.
“It doesn't make sense to go after all new sales and not be able to produce it,” he said.