JR Custom Metal Products, Inc. to expand Wichita facility, add new jobs
(Wichita, KS - August, 2012) The team at JR Custom Metal Products, Inc. had a decision to make – take a risk and expand operations or outsource part of the production process to an out-of-state or out-of-country vendor. So when a representative of the Greater Wichita Economic Development Coalition made an IDEA visit to the company, the timing was beneficial for the company and the community.
GWEDC staff regularly make IDEA visits to learn more about companies needs and plans, building a database of information, while also learning more about potential future expansions or decision points like this one for JR Custom.
Working with the economic development agency, JR Custom decided to invest $3 million in the expansion in Wichita, including adding more than 30,000 square feet of production space at its current facility, purchasing two specialized pieces of equipment and adding 50 new jobs over the next 5 years. The company expects to hire 15 in the first year.
One of Wichita’s leading family-owned businesses, JR Custom specializes in material handling equipment and production support equipment for large original equipment manufacturers, transportation companies, the wind power industry, and various other industries. It also has the ability to engineer complex products or modify existing designs to meet specific requirements.
“This is the great American success story, and it’s exciting to see the second generation take on the same entrepreneurial spirit and hard work that launched this company,” said Sedgwick County Chairman Tim Norton. “They continue to seek new markets, new clients and new ideas all building on what they do so well.”
The company began in 1974 by Jesus Raul Martinez, Sr. as a one-man metal shop. Now with second-generation family members at the helm, the business has grown over the years to more than 98,000 square feet in facilities with about 110 employees working three shifts.
“It was vitally important to us for my siblings and me to continue to be a strong presence in the Wichita community,” said President and CEO Patty Koehler. “Our father planted us here with his entrepreneurial spirit, and now we are firmly rooted in this great city. The central location also helps us to reach out to many different markets and industries throughout the US. And, of course, the drive and dedication of the work force just can’t be beat.”
JR Custom began exporting out of the country last year. With numbers of exports expecting to grow, expanding the facility allows the company to increase production of sub-components, tools and fixtures for customers. The company has also targeted the wind-industry market to further diversify its work.
“JR Custom is such a Wichita success story, and we’re proud to continue standing with them as they expand and grow their business here,” said Wichita Mayor Carl Brewer. "Every time we can keep work located here, we keep jobs located here. Every time we can help a company be more competitive here, we can help Wichita be more competitive.”
Working with Sedgwick County and the City of Wichita, GWEDC worked with the company on the local expansion. The City Council will vote on a proposed property tax abatement.
GWEDC is the regional public-private partnership formed by the City of Wichita, Sedgwick County and private business. It’s managed by the Wichita Metro Chamber of Commerce and charged with creating and executing the community’s business recruitment, retention and expansion plans and marketing the region.