RICHMOND, IND. — At the corner of North 12th and North F streets here in this eastern Indiana city, sits the headquarters for Primex Plastics Corp.
For six blocks along North F, hulking white buildings extend beyond where an American flag flies in front of the very first building the company occupied 35 years ago.
But Primex even extends beyond Richmond, and the custom sheet extrusion company has locations in Garfield, N.J., Reedsburg, Wis., Oakwood, Ga., and Mesquite, Nev., to go along with its Indiana site that also doubles as corporate headquarters.
What was once a run-down stretch has given way to building after building of extrusion machinery that's churning out different thicknesses and types of plastics for a wide variety of end uses.
Primex doesn't make paddle boats, for example, but it makes the plastic sheeting that becomes paddle boats.
End users for the company's sheeting includes the food packaging, automotive, health care, toy, textile, cosmetic, construction, appliance, toy, graphic arts and pharmaceutical industries.
It's this kind of diversity — each building at the Primex site in Indiana handles a different type of plastic — that has been a key to the success and growth of the company, said Tim Schultz as he walked through the site on one particularly warm Tuesday morning. There's about 1.2 million square feet under all of those roofs.
“That's the great thing about Primex, we're so diversified that we have a broad spectrum of customers,” the vice president of sales and marketing for Primex said.
Extruders, running around the clock, create sheets from a hundredth of an inch to half an inch thick.
The company uses polystyrene, polyethylene, ABS, polypropylene and polyester to extrude its many sizes of sheeting and provides specialty products as well. The custom nature of the business means that Primex even has its own department to make custom wooden pallets to handle the different sizes of product that's shipped out.
“We have largely been organic growth-oriented and growing with our customer base,” Schultz said.
And part of that growth is the new John J. Farber Technology & Innovation Center, a dedicated space where research and development can take place for the entire company, not just Primex in Richmond, which has doubled as corporate headquarters since 1990.
“It's not just about this site. It's about the whole organization. We're coming up on 50 years. So to me, it's not about Richmond. It's about the whole company and that whole company is not just the Primex sheet plants,” President Michael J. Cramer said.