ST. LOUIS—Consistency is tough to establish, especially for a long period of time.
But 95 years after its founding, Reed Rubber Products Inc. is still thriving.
The St. Louis-based custom rubber shop has changed significantly in its near-century history. The key to its consistency, however, isn't what it makes, but who makes it.
"I've seen lots of family businesses really struggle," said Clark Reed, the company's president and third-generation owner. "Power struggles, resentment, disputes over equity, position and compensation. It seems that these are problems more often than not among the people I know. We're just very fortunate that we've gotten along. I've gotten along with everyone in the family."
The firm focuses on extruded rubber products using primary thermoplastic vulcanizates—namely Santoprene and Sarlink. HVAC, transportation with some automotive aftermarket, and window glazing each make up at least 25 percent of the firm's $6.5 million in sales, with HVAC near 30 percent. Reed Rubber employs 32 at its 47,000-sq.-ft. facility with five extrusion lines and two 10-hour shifts.
This version of the company is drastically different from the one founded on Sept. 30, 1922. That's also just part of Reed's philosophy.
"We work a lot and talk a lot about finding new and better ways to do things," Reed said. "If somebody comes into the office six months later and doesn't see any change, we've lost some initiative. Things should look different. We should be doing things differently."