Phoenix Closures Inc.'s job is to make plastic closures and plenty of them.
But the injection molding company also is tasked with anticipating trends and customer demands and acting accordingly.
"We're in the business of making sure that we're keeping our capacity ahead of our customers, so it's not uncommon that we already have a property that we purchased" ahead of actual need, co-President Alby Miller said.
And that's exactly what Naperville, Ill.-based Phoenix did in Bloomington, Ind., five years ago with the acquisition of a massive former Otis Elevator Co. facility in anticipation of future growth. "We like to buy older buildings and refurbish them," Miller said.
This time around, the company is spending more than $30 million and eventually creating 125 new jobs.
Phoenix currently is utilizing about half of the 450,000-square-foot building for production and warehousing while leasing out the other half to a tenant. Plans are to eventually expand into the entire building as the business continues to grow.
Phoenix now has five locations, including a plant about an hour from Bloomington in Greencastle, Ind. The proximity of those two sites, Miller said, is no coincidence as Phoenix wanted to rely on the stability of the Greencastle location to help launch and support the new site.
"Being an hour away, it really allows us to promote from within and share that tacit knowledge that our employees have of the equipment as we train new employees," Miller said.
The Bloomington site currently has about 30 workers and expects that number to increase over the next four years. Some of those staffers came to Bloomington from Greencastle, including some who now enjoy a shorter commute to the new location.
"It was a logical extension to have that be geographically closer to the other facility," Miller explained.
"When we looked at this, we also did a geographic look at where our current and near-term future customers would be and this location fit well with that as well," said Doug Drewes, vice president of strategy and business excellence.
Phoenix is a sixth-generation, family-owned company founded in 1890 that has historically made its money in the continuous thread closure business. But the firm has branched out in recent years to also include dispensing and child-resistant products.
Key markets for Phoenix include food, beverage, nutrition, home, personal care, consumer health care and chemical. Look under the cap of a peanut butter or mayonnaise jar, for example, and the Phoenix name is a common sight regardless of brand.