Life's Better Here: Kendallville 2012

By Eric Olson

June 7, 2012 Updated Jun 7, 2012 at 7:31 AM EDT

KENDALLVILLE, Indiana (Indiana's NewsCenter)-Exceeding expectations has become a habit at Kendallville’s Creative Liquid Coatings. In the depths of America’s automotive crisis Stephen Geist and his father took over a failing auto paint company and made it fly.

“Our primary customers are the domestic automakers,” Geist says. “It can be a bumper fascia, door trim, wheel flares, wheel caps, any type of exterior or interior components.”

Geist’s company started out painting car parts, earning high marks for quality. Then they branched out, began making parts of high quality injection molded plastic providing customers with complete, finished pieces…tops for the Jeep Wrangler, bumpers and moldings for Chrysler 300’s and Dodge Chargers…even hoods for the legendary Chevy Corvette. Quality got the company where it is today. Steve gist says nimbly responding to market forces keeps it there.

“As the volumes decline you need to be reacting accordingly,” he says, “and as the volumes increase you need to be prepared to support your customers.”

Creative Liquid’s success is a boon for Kendallville. The company bought the abandoned Budd building in the town’s industrial park. And it just bought the derelict Tower Automotive factory across the street, installed massive injection molding machines soon to boost the company’s output and expand its 275 employee workforce. It’s a business general manager Stephen Geist says keeps him on his toes, responding to ever changing demands from carmakers.

“All the customers are constantly innovating to come up with light weight materials to enhance our fuel economy,” Geist says. “There’s a new product that a customer’s asking for there’s a new type of process or a new type of coating a new type of plastic that they want to make it out of.”

A continual demand for fresh thinking that keeps this success story innovating…as it plays its part in the rebirth of Kendallville’s industrial base.




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