Robinson Industries Inc. was reduced to rubble by a March 31 fire, but the Coleman, Mich., thermoformer is on the rebound.
The company reports that 95 percent of its 200 employees are back on the job — some crammed into the company's other facilities, and others welcomed by competitors.
"That's significant and amazing," Marketing Manager Ronda Robinson said in a phone interview.
Every one of the 75-year-old company's competitors offered to help Robinson Industries' staff keep up with their orders and call back laid-off workers, said Robinson, granddaughter of the founders of the women-operated company.
Robinson Industries produces pallets, packaging, ice-fishing sleds and consumer goods for Ford, General Motors and national retailers. The company had about 17 machines and almost all were destroyed in the fire that took six hours and 1 million gallons of water to extinguish.
The fire originated at one of the machines during the midnight shift when a plastic part fell onto a burner.
To ramp up production again, arrangements have been made so far with six companies located in Michigan, Robinson said.
"In some cases, our employees are working at competitors' plants and in others, our competitors are working on a subcontract basis," Robinson said. "We're in talks with others, too."
The company has also purchased a 70,000-square-foot steel building and will take delivery of the structure in July.