Ten years ago, parting was sweet sorrow for Progressive Foam Technologies Inc. of Beach City, Ohio, and Plymouth Foam Inc.
The two businesses shared space in Beach City until Progressive experienced rapid growth for its patented product, vinyl siding backed with foam insulation.
So when Progressive needed more room, Plymouth Foam, which serves mostly the packaging and building industries, left for a cleaned-up Superfund site 20 miles away, in Gnadenhutten, Ohio.
Now Progressive is growing again, due partly to a partnership with BASF Corp. related to its Neopor rigid foam insulation. Progressive needs more space and Plymouth Foam happens to have it. So the two companies are back under the same roof, this time at the 220,000-square-foot facility in Gnadenhutten, which Progressive recently bought for $3.3 million.
“We've been looking for a way to put this back together ever since we took it apart 10 years ago,” Progressive founder and President Patrick Culpepper said in a telephone interview.
He describes the business relationship as a “joint effort” rather than a joint venture. Progressive owns the expanded polystyrene block molding plant and the equipment. It leases space to Plymouth. There's no shared ownership. The companies retain their individual identities.
“While each of us buys the same kind of EPS resins and each of us expands those beads and each makes blocks, what we do with those blocks is very different,” Culpepper said.
Progressive makes siding insulation — and batten and boards now, too — while Plymouth, which is based in Plymouth, Wis., makes foam blocks for various end markets but mostly protective packaging and building panels for commercial and residential construction.
“We're the sole supplier of backers and bonding for insulated vinyl siding to this day in the U.S. and Canada,” Culpepper said.
Going forward, Progressive's Beach City site will focus on shape molding while the Gnadenhutten site will be used for block molding and making Neopor products.