Custom injection molder Sapona Plastics LLC has a new ownership structure and a new CEO and has announced plans to expand in Seagrove, N.C.
The company had been founded as a joint venture in 2004, with ownership shared between textile company Sapona Manufacturing Co. and JBDJ LLC, a family real estate holding company founded by Jack Lail. Now JBDJ owns 100 percent of the company.
Jack Lail, who started in plastics in 1971, had been the company CEO. With the change, he will continue as chairman and give up the CEO title to his son Dean, who has been president. In addition, Kathryn Baker was promoted to chief financial officer.
"We expect to invest $1.2 million to upfit existing space and add three to four machines in the next six months," Dean Lail said. The company has two factories in Seagrove, and the expansion will take place at the facility known as plant 2.
"One objective with plant 2 is to be able to operate lights out on the night shift with a focus on short-run jobs and flexible automation, thereby avoiding the challenge of adding full night shift crews," he said.
Two all-electric Shibaura presses are scheduled to arrive in January.
Sapona Plastics molds plastic items and assemblies for telecommunications, housewares, HVAC, industrial and consumer packaging customers. The company has 23 injection presses and 120 employees.
"Sales are up over 20 percent in 2021 and will be over $18 million. We have been more productive out of necessity to meet strong demand in spite of a labor shortage. We also faced several challenges this past year, including the loss of some retail business to import competition and other business to in-sourcing by a top customer," Dean Lail said.
"We are forecasting to continue to grow in 2022 to around $20 million," he said.
Former joint venture partner Sapona Manufacturing was founded in 1836. Over the past few years, the company has been divesting assets, including its yarn manufacturing operation in Cedar Falls, N.C. The company is in the process of liquidation.
"We are extremely thankful for the guidance and financing Sapona Manufacturing has provided to help Sapona Plastics get started and grow," Dean Lail said. "In part, the legacy of Sapona Manufacturing will continue on through Sapona Plastics."