Galesville, Wis.-based injection mold maker Stellar Mold & Tool Inc. is getting "a new breath of life" after nearly closing its doors last month.
Jason Lawton, president and co-owner of C&C Machine Inc. in La Crosse, Wis., bought Stellar in a deal completed Aug. 25. Jeff Stegemeyer, former president and owner of Stellar Mold, will remain on as a consultant and the company's core management team will stay in place, Lawton said in an Aug. 27 news release.
"The time was right, and I wanted to make sure we had someone committed to our customers, the mold making industry, our team and our region," Stegemeyer said in the release.
At first, the mold maker, in operation since 1978, expected to permanently close its 20,000-square-foot facility, Daniel Vest, business developer at Stellar Mold, told Plastics News. But when that process started, potential buyers became interested "at the eleventh hour."
"Some of the things that had been put in motion, there was no stopping," Vest said, like an Aug. 3 WARN notice to the Wisconsin Department of Workforce Development. "Going forward with new ownership, we have a bit clearer picture of the future."
Vest said 12 out of Stellar Mold's 22 employees, who were previously expected to be laid off due to the closure, will stay on under the new ownership.
"A couple of folks have decided to move on," he said. "There will be a slight decrease in the number of employees … with the intention to be back up to full force within the year."
"The only thing that's really changing is paperwork," Vest added.
In 2019, Stellar was No. 105 in Plastics News' ranking of North American toolmakers with $3.3 million in sales.
Stellar Mold & Tool Inc. will now operate under the name C&C Mold and Tool LLC.
Under Lawton's leadership, the company is looking for long-term growth and possibly diversifying its manufacturing to include rotational molding or blow molding if it sees demand in those areas, Vest said.
There will also be capital investments made for new equipment, he added.
"We are retaining all that is Stellar Mold & Tool," Stegemeyer said. "I am confident that our customers will continue to be served with the same level of care and expertise that Stellar has been providing for the past 43 years."
Stegemeyer staying on as a consultant was an important part of the deal, Vest said.
"We understand the last thing anyone wants to do is find a new toolmaker," he said. "[Stegemeyer] has been gracious enough to help us out with that transition with his customers and give them some peace of mind going forward."