Running a family business can have its ups and down depending on the ability to adapt to market changes. For owner Greg Schaefer, whose father started the company over 50 years ago with his signature invention of the Sportsman’s Scooter, the economy continues to be a key driver of the business’s growth.
Industrial Manufacturing, which now functions as a “job shop,” builds custom parts of any quantity for anyone. “My father was the inventor in the family who sold his ideas and spun off companies,” Greg remarked. “But the liability got too high for us to continue making our own products, so we contracted out to make what other people need – diversifying our reach so no one industry could hit us hard.” His biggest client is the Koala Kare© Diaper Stations used worldwide; the metal bar that reinforces the product is made by Greg’s company. Other clients include CoorsTek, Polaris, and US Postal Service vendors.
Even with such product flexibility available onsite, Greg went online for financing when cash flow got tight. The outcome was fast cash but at exorbitant interest rates that hurt the company’s bottom line. Greg visited his banker for help and was referred to Colorado Enterprise Fund (CEF) where he qualified for a loan to refinance the company’s high interest debt. “CEF helped us get out of a bad situation with a really good deal,” Greg recalled. He also took advantage of CEF’s Business Acceleration Services (BAS) team of consultants who helped him turn around his accounting process, too, with the use of QuickBooks to provide more accurate and timely info.
Now Greg and his team are busy making two patented products of their own – garden stakes and edging – that a newly hired salesperson is marketing nationwide. Even though the main material used to make these items is steel, Greg is optimistic another material might work – like plastic.
“We wouldn’t be considering a second loan if we hadn’t gotten to CEF first,” Greg said. “For new and existing businesses, you are a great resource!”