My goal in this column is to bring to light all the small manufacturers making a small product for big applications and using big ideas with a huge doses of innovation. We all use products every day in our houses, cars and at work. But, do we think about where they come from, who makes them and all of the R&D that goes into them? Manufacturing is an amazing industry that utilizes cutting-edge technology and innovative, creative, critical and analytical thinkers as well as skilled production staff who run the machines and equipment on the floor that take these products from an idea and turn them into tangible, saleable goods.
HGR Frequent Shopper Steve Timothy works full time as a millwright at Charter Steel. Sullivan Machine Tooling is his “side job” that he started in 2013 to build as his future retirement job. It all started in 2009 when he bought a 1977 Lincoln Electric doghouse welder, his “newest” piece of equipment, to make repairs for himself. Since he lives in Sullivan, Ohio, a heavily Amish community, his Amish neighbors knew he could weld and asked him to fix farm implements for them. That’s when he started doing repair work. Sometimes, rather than repairing a piece of equipment, it was easier to buy it from HGR and haul it home. So, Timothy began to buy equipment, fix and resell it, as well as haul equipment for the Amish in his community.
What do you do?
Learn about the history of slo-pitch softball, which started in Cleveland, at the hall of fame and museum
In 1985, The Greater Cleveland Slo-Pitch Softball Hall of Fame began inducting members into the hall at its annual banquet. This continues to be the case today. But, in 1997, Founder Buddy Langdon and his partner had an idea for a hall of fame and museum in order to share the history of softball with the public. Originally, they planned to make it a mobile exhibit that could travel around the country by bus. Later, they approached the Cleveland-Style Polka Hall of Fame and Museum, then located in what is now the Shore Cultural Centre in Euclid, Ohio, to pitch the idea that both museums be housed in the historic, former Euclid City Hall building that the city had planned to condemn and demolish.
Sheffield Bronze’s Founder: from Printer to Paint-Powder Distributor, Car Salesman, Auto Lessor, and finally Paint Manufacturer by 1927
Mel Hart, president of Sheffield Bronze Paint Corp., 17814 S. Waterloo Rd., Cleveland, is a self-made man with captivating stories to tell about the history of Cleveland and of his family, especially his grandfather, Abe Gross, the founder of Sheffield Bronze.
Stamco Industries Inc., 26650 Lakeland Blvd., Euclid, Ohio, was started by William Sopko in 1983 when he bought the assets and building from another stamping company that closed in 1982. He chose to locate in Euclid, Ohio, because, “The City of Euclid is friendly towards manufacturing. In the 34 years that we have been located in Euclid, Stamco has made three or four plant expansions, and the city was very supportive of these activities.”
According to the American Wind Energy Association, “With 60,009 megawatts of wind power capacity installed as of the end of 2012 and more than 13,131 megawatts currently under construction in the U.S., companies large and small see opportunities for expanding into the wind energy market.” To develop innovations that can be approved for use, the industry needs to test and demonstrate products on working turbines.
From 1993-2005, I worked for a construction trade newspaper with Monica Potter’s Aunt Sue. I heard office tales about her stunning niece who was doing catalog modeling and commercials and even got to meet her once at some company event or other. I also crossed paths with Monica’s Uncle Bill of Brokaw Inc., an advertising agency, since I had begun my career in advertising.
Fast forward to October 2016 when I heard about Monica’s newest TV venture, “Welcome Back Potter,” a reality TV show on HGTV in which Monica, her mother and her sister work to renovate their family home in the North Collinwood neighborhood of Cleveland, which is right around the corner from my office at HGR Industrial Surplus. I decided to send her a message on Facebook to see about an interview. I figured, “What do I have to lose?” A few days later I got a response basically saying, “Yes.” I messaged her the questions. I got a message back with a phone number. After some phone tag and texts, we chatted for almost an hour. Who knew that she cares so much about manufacturing and a skilled workforce, and is actually doing something about it?
Kerr Lakeside Inc., 26841 Tungsten Blvd., Euclid Ohio, was started in 1945 by Charles L. Kerr. He then organized Krafline Industries for the manufacture of a special military fastener. Once World War II ended, the company discontinued operations until 1947, when the company was renamed C.L. Kerr Industries. It regularly bought and sold products from another Cleveland company, Lakeside Machine Products Company, which led to a merger in 1958. The new company was named Kerr Lakeside Industries.
William Sopko and Sons Co., located at 26500 Lakeland Blvd., Euclid, Ohio, was started in 1952 in the basement of current owner Bill Sopko Sr.’s parents’ home on East 267th Street. His dad, also Bill, worked in the Maintenance Department at Tapco (now TRW) after returning home from serving in the U.S. Navy during World War II. Prior to the war, he worked at Ohio Ball Bearing Company (now Applied Technologies) in the Spindle Repair Department.
Cleveland historically has been a town of entrepreneurs, startups and family businesses, especially in the manufacturing and industrial sector. In this column, each month we continue the manufacturing conversation, because manufacturing is what this town was built on, and manufacturing continues to sustain it.
Many of us have flown in an airplane or had an MRI. Little did we know that many of the parts on planes and in medical equipment are sandblasted, washed, primed, painted, coated and sealed in Euclid, Ohio, at Painting Technology, Inc., 21641 Tungsten Road. The business passed to President Mary Lou Ambrose in 1990 as part of a divorce settlement. It still is owned by her and will pass to her daughter, Vice President Denise DeGaetano.
In the heart of the Collinwood neighborhood in Cleveland, Ohio, I was sitting on a sofa in Twelve Literary and Performance Arts Incubator chatting with Poet Daniel Gray-Kontar about manufacturing and poetry. In our conversation, I brought up the poetic words of Erin O’Brien, editor of Fresh Water Cleveland, from her blog post “Tears and steel:”
Can you guess what Hose Master makes? Yup. Hose! But not of the garden variety. Hose Master manufactures ¼-inch to 20-inch-in-diameter metal hoses with expansion joints to transport liquids and gasses for industrial applications where rubber hose won’t work because the environment is too hot (think, steel mill), too cold, or where there is a concern that something could permeate the hose (think, chemical plants and refineries), such as in the transport of chlorine. As consumers, we have encountered their hoses in three places: the metal hose that connected the receiver to the box in a pay-phone booth in the good old days, the hose on a handheld showerhead and the hose that we can’t see beneath the dispenser at a gas station, which pumps the gas up from the underground tank.
Ironhawk Industrial is a manufacturer and distributor of high-tech snow removal products made in The United States. The company came to Euclid in 2012 and has enjoyed a great relationship with the city and the local business community. After the company started in late 2010, the owners looked for a location that provided expandable space, access to major interstate shipping routes and the right business environment.
Dan T. Moore, CEO and chairman of Dan T. Moore Co. that holds 19 companies, is an ageless entrepreneur and inventor who is full of ideas and vitality. He skis and motorcycles the world, which you can read about on his blog; starts successful business after business; holds about 30 patents; and currently is hobbling about on crutches and in a cast after having bones in his ankle fused from a ski accident. His plans? To ski again! And, to continue to innovate and create successful startup companies in Collinwood.