Vip Rubber Co. Inc. in La Habra, Calif., is an old time family company success story in every sense.
Now in its third generation of family members working at the rubber product maker, the company is still growing strong and adding to its arsenal of technology.
Howard Vipperman is president and looking forward to retirement in the not-too-distant feature.
His father, Howard “Big Vip” Vipperman Sr., founded the company in 1961 in Anaheim. He originally had worked at Kirkhill Rubber Co. in downtown Los Angeles from 1946-58. That was followed by a short stint at a plastics company until three years later he got a chance to re-open a rubber shop called Powers Rubber that had gone bankrupt. That was the birth of Vip Rubber.
“Many times we would be watching television and trimming molded parts that could be shipped out the next day,” the younger Vipperman said. “It was really the Golden Age in the 1960s, growing up in the rubber industry.”
After four years in the Navy, Vipperman returned to the firm in 1974 and worked with his father until the company founder died in 1979, and he took over as president.
“We managed to grow and continue to grow to this day,” he said.
Vip Rubber moved from Anaheim to La Habra in 1994 and currently employs about 130. Its capabilities in rubber include extrusion, molded and calendered sheets, serving a variety of industries, including aerospace and defense. In plastics, Vip does extruded shapes and some sheet goods.
“I really think silicone is going to be the way to go,” Vipperman said. “It's a growing part of our business, but there's a lot of technology going on there. We're not on the bleeding edge of technology, but we're close to it. We try to stay ahead of the game.”
And over the years, the company's roster has been well-represented by family members.