CUYAHOGA FALLS, Ohio—While the giants in the industry keep growing, one small custom mixer is content to stay true to its roots.
Officials at Polymerics Inc., which has been in the Sample family since it opened in 1972, say the company's size and pedigree, as well as its ability to work directly with customers, continue to be its recipe for success.
“A lot of the times when we're out in the field, we hear customers tell us they appreciate that we still are a privately owned company,” said Sales Manager Timmy Samples, who represents the third generation of his family to work in the business. His father, Tim, became CEO of the company in 2011, while his grandfather, Charles, founded the operation.
As some of the smaller mixers disappear—Hexpol A.B. has made several acquisitions over the past few years, including Kardoes Rubber Co. and Portage Precision Polymers Inc.—the younger Samples said customers tell him they are “relieved” that Polymerics continues to be family-owned. “That sets us apart,” he said.
“Just last month, we met with a customer in North Carolina,” he said. “He said to us his company would rather deal with a small operation, and that they needed a personal touch. We represent that.”
“The heard is thinning,” said Jeff Topliff, purchasing director. “With all the big corporate stuff that has been in the works, we still do some things on a handshake.”
Once that handshake has been made, executives say the real work begins.
“We've got to be nimble and be able to turn orders around quickly,” said Troy Smith, plant manager at the firm's Cuyahoga Falls facility. “Quite frankly, we've got to be good at reacting to our orders and expediting the product. That is our strength.”
As a result, the elder Samples said the company has become more successful, with sales not only increasing 5 to 10 percent each of the last few years, but it also has become more diversified.
While automotive continues to be important, Samples said his company has increased its business in other sectors including agriculture, oil and gas, new construction, and coated fabrics.
“We're branching out into different polymers,” said Technical Director Nicki Hershberger. “We're not necessarily into new markets but higher-end parts in those markets. With our variety of lab mixers, we have the ability to mix it here very quickly, do our own testing, making prototypes and share those with the customers.”