Toner Plastics Group has expanded its custom and proprietary plastics operations by acquiring New York-based Streamline Plastics Co. Inc., the last U.S. maker of the classic hoop toy commonly called the Hula Hoop.
Toner inked the deal with the Bronx molder at about the same time a Toner Group company purchased the molds and inventory of Quality Bead Craft, boosting Toner's stake in proprietary products such as beads and other craft items.
Toner announced June 29 that it is merging Streamline into two Toner businesses. Streamline's 10 injection molding machines will be moved to Modern Mold and Tool in Pittsfield, Mass. The move, when completed by October, will boost Modern Mold's press count to 36, with clamps from 150 to 850 tons. The larger presses extend Toner's clamp tonnage range, said Toner owner Steve Graham in a phone interview.
Streamline's extrusion machinery will be shipped to Toner Plastics in East Longmeadow, Mass. The nine extrusion lines slated to move will increase the number of extrusion lines in East Longmeadow to 18, Graham added. Streamline has been producing rigid and semi-rigid profiles, while Toner's extrusion activity had been focused on flexible products, such as filaments.
Both equipment transfers will be done while ensuring customer needs are met, Graham stressed.
"They will take us into a lot of new doors," Graham said. Streamline's proprietary line of products for retail displays, toys and writing instruments dovetails with the Beadery's strengths in crafts. Graham said Streamline is the only remaining U.S. manufacturer of the classic toy hoop. Streamline products are sold through distributors to major retailers, lifting Toner's presence on retail store shelves.
Streamline's custom molding and extrusion businesses were both attractive and are much larger than Streamline's proprietary sales, Graham said.
Streamline Plastics, founded in 1946 by Sol Bartner as a belt factory, was owned by Joe and Stew Bartner, who will continue as consultants with Toner.
"We are always looking for good opportunities," Graham explained. "This opportunity allows both companies to expand their operations, increase their offerings and get involved in new market segments."
"We looked for and have found a great partner in Steve Graham and his companies as they can accommodate both our molding and extrusion operations," said Joe and Stew Bartner in a June 29 news release.
The Streamline acquisition boosts Toner's overall annual sales into the $50 million to $75 million range, Graham estimated. The group's employment has risen to about 225. Toner Group was formed by Steve Graham and his wife Jean in 1989 and boasts plastics operations in injection molding, tooling, extrusion and compounding, all on or near the U.S. East Coast. Compounding is handled by Toner subsidiary S&E Specialty Polymers in Lunenburg, Mass.
Graham said Toner's business model is based on individual managers heading different businesses in which they have equity interest.
"It helps fuel our growth," he said by phone.