In an effort to consolidate business by cutting overhead to increase profitability, Eliason Corporation, a part of Senneca Holdings, relocated three divisions from its plant in Pittsburgh to its Southwest Michigan location in Portage.
“The good news is the company does not shy away from trying to add on here. At least that means we’re doing something right,” said Jason Horn, director of operations at Eliason.
The relocation of the production of industrial curtains, bird-bug doors, and rack covers brought 20 new jobs to the region and has already resulted in an extra $6.5 million in sales for the local plant.
“When COVID hit in March, we saw a dramatic drop in business. Our core business really is restaurant and retail and that was impacted dramatically,” said Jason. “The extra revenue we brought in has helped. We’re leveling back out to where we need to be.”
The three products are essential for several business sectors for safety and cleanliness. The industrial curtains are large pieces of vinyl used for room separation or thermal barriers. The bird-bug product is a roll-up door made from biomaterial and used behind dock doors to increase airflow, ensure safety, and keep pests out of buildings. Finally, the rack covers are necessary for foodservice businesses, such as bakeries to maintain temperature and sanitation standards. To make room for the new additions, Jason asked his team to think innovatively.
“I challenged my team to come up with how we can make room for it without adding onto the plant,” said Jason. “So, we did some moving around of machinery, cleared some spaces, and then were able to move it in here without adding on.”
While the addition of more product lines at Eliason are uncertain, recent growth in the past few years could indicate the company will continue to grow at its Southwest Michigan facilities and the need for more workers.
“In the future, I’m hoping business picks up to the point where I have to add a second shift,” said Jason.