ATLANTA—USA Rolls was a first-time exhibitor at the recent SPE Thermoforming Conference in Atlanta. Its booth was a one-man affair: Kevin Sheldon, who started the company in 2009, during the recession.
"It was smack dab in it. I was very lucky to get the financing to start that business," Sheldon said in a break from the show floor.
Sheldon worked at Xaloy Inc. in New Castle, Pa., as director of operations of the roll business. In December 2009, he left and started USA Rolls in Canfield, Ohio, across the state line. He mortgaged his house and cashed in his 401k. His wife sold her car.
"We radically changed out lives to start this up," Sheldon said.
USA Rolls makes chill rolls, hot oil rolls and rubber coated rolls. The company makes customized rolls from 3-4 inches in diameter up to a maximum of 48 inches in diameter, and in lengths from a foot to 30 feet.
Why did he start the company in Canfield, in the Warren/Youngstown area? He wanted to stay in the area near his home. "And I wanted to show the grandkids that sometimes you have to take a step backward in order to move forward," Sheldon said.
In the early days, Sheldon helped run metalworking machines. But now he focuses on sales, human resources and payroll for the 14-employee, three-shift operation. "I do still drive the delivery truck," he said.
Sheldon said USA Rolls supplies rolls for several machinery manufacturers, such as Davis-Standard L.L.C., Processing Technologies International L.L.C. and Gloucester Engineering Co. He wants to broaden the company's focus to reach end customers, which makes film and sheet.
That's the reason he picked the Thermoforming Conference for USA Rolls' first-ever exhibit at a trade of any type.