WALLED LAKE, Mich.—Family is the most important value for the owners of Basic Rubber & Plastics Co. Inc., according to David Smith, president and one of the three brothers who own the company.
David and his family showed off the company during a recent plant tour for the Association for Rubber Products Manufacturers.
Basic Rubber started in 1973, when David's parents decided to begin a company where his older brother, who was receiving chemotherapy treatments for leukemia, could work around treatments. After his brother passed away, the family continued developing the company. Then, three years later, David's father also died from a massive heart attack, leaving his wife with six children, and a die-cutting and rubber coating company to run out of their basement.
David, in his first year in college, came to help complete the last few orders and close the company down.
"The goal was, let's just complete all our orders, and get what cash we can from it and go from there," he said at the ARPM presentation. "What started happening was, when we were finishing our orders, we started getting repeat orders of the same things. So the company started to grow."
His brothers Tom and Thaddeus each joined in after beginning college, when David needed help maintaining the company's expansion, each taking an equal salary as they developed the family owned company.
By 1982, they moved into their first true production building and established a team of 10 employees, seven of whom were family. The company had sisters, brothers and cousins working together, and have continued that trend through the history of the company, David said.
"We are literally a family business. That was our culture, running a family business to help support the family," he said.