The sister companies run by Ron Meins and his son Greg Meins — Garden City Plastics Equipment Inc. and Plastic Packaging Concepts Inc. — combine expertise in reconditioning used plastics processing machinery with an extrusion blow molding operation.
Ron Meins, operations manager, said family ownership means the company leaders are on the same page.
Garden City Plastics Equipment, in Garden City, Mo., specializes in buying, selling and brokering pre-owned plastics processing equipment, including blow molding and injection molding equipment, and auxiliary equipment.
Reconditioning existing machinery is much less expensive than buying a brand-new machine.
“What we're doing is green, because not only do we keep pre-owned equipment from getting scrapped, but we're also helping that client make money,” Greg Meins said. “And we're re-using equipment.”
Ron Meins is a blow molding veteran who got his start in the sector when he began working at IMCO Container Corp. in Kansas City in 1976. While there, he served as the regional purchasing agent for a support group for all IMCO blow molding factories. He purchased maintenance, repair and operations items and tooling.
Owens-Illinois Inc. bought IMCO, then closed the Kansas City operation in 1987.
So Meins decided to start his own company. His original idea was to represent Kansas City-area machine shops making custom components and tooling for blow molding equipment manufacturers.
As luck would have it, a few months after starting his company, Owens-Illinois became his largest customer. “The people who laid me off came back and were my best customer,” Ron Meins said.
He had started the business at his home, storing parts in his garage and setting up an office in his bedroom. Soon used equipment was filling up the garage. So Meins decided to rent a small space in Garden City. A short time later, the company's current location became available.
Now the company has six large buildings, an off-site warehouse and a printing facility, Distec for custom container screen and pad printing in Odessa, Mo. The company bought Distec Printing in 2013.
Garden City Plastics and Plastic Packaging Concepts employ a total of about 35 people. It's a family affair. Executives include Ron Meins, the president; his wife, Judy Meins, the corporate secretary; Greg Meins; Michael Gray, Judy's son and the plant manager of Plastic Packaging Concepts; Carrie Stafford, support specialist; and Casey Meins, operations manager of Distec and Greg's wife.
Family members know the value of hard work. Ron Meins sets the example. He was one of 10 children born to Leon and Florence Meins, from Arkansas. They were poor. Ron, the son of a ranch hand, learned to work hard and avoid debt at all costs.
Garden City Plastics Equipment does not just sell equipment and parts. The skilled team can create machine parts in long or short-run production. Garden City makes cylinders, head tooling, clamping toggles, head adapters, hot-knife assemblies, blow-pin tips and other parts.
Greg Meins said there are both advantages and disadvantages to family ownership. “The main advantage we experience is having complete trust in each other. We know what our objective is with our business and that we are all on board to achieve those goals.”
And a disadvantage? “Treading very lightly with our words for fear of upsetting family members,” he said. “Not only do we work together but we play and enjoy holidays together as well, so we really must choose our words carefully.”