Local company receives national award

Commercial Advantage: June 1999

A local metal-forming company, back in full production after being devastated by a fire in early 1998, is one of six companies nationally being recognized with a Blue Chip Enterprise Initiative Award.

Toledo Metal Spinning Company, 1819 Clinton Street, has been selected for the honor which “recognizes small businesses that have demonstrated the ability to withstand the cyclical nature of business, overcome adversity, seize opportunities and succeed.”

“Our company has been through total chaos over the last year, and we have made a miraculous recovery,” Eric S. Fankhauser, vice president, said.

Toledo Metal Spinning formed in 1929, is a leader in experimental, prototype and production metalforming, using stainless steel, aluminum, carbon steel copper, brass and exotic alloys. The company has 50 employees.

The award, publicized in the June issue of Nation’s Business, will be formally presented in June at the U.S. Chamber of Commerce annual meeting in Washington D.C. President Clinton has been invited to make the presentation.

On Feb. 4, 1998, a raging fire lit up the midnight sky. Fanned by 40 mph winds, it destroyed 95 percent of the firm’s manufacturing equipment and 80 percent of its manufacturing space.

The loss exceeded $10 million. Included in the destroyed property was more than 70 years of tooling and job development, quality inspection gauges, several brand new pieces of equipment, and many records, files and history that can never be duplicated.

“Within the first 24 hours of the fire, our management established two priorities in order to survive this catastrophe,” Fankhauser said. “The number one priority was to keep our customers informed and in business at whatever cost. The second: to retain our employee base.”

“No employee lost even one hour due to this unfortunate event. We pledged to our employees in the beginning that no one would be laid off or experience any interruption of wages due to the fire. Our promise was kept.”

At the time of the fire, more than 500 job orders were in process for approximately 100 customers. These customers needed a continuous flow of parts to keep their businesses going. Within 48 hours of the fire, production was resumed on primitive type machinery. The owners personally called the key customers to make sure relationships were solid.

“Through our crisis came the opportunity to rebuild Toledo Metal Spinning as one of the country’s most advanced, state-of-the-art facilities of its kind, ” Fankhauser said. Despite the devastating fire, company sales by the end of 1998 had reached 83 percent of 1997 levels with full recovery anticipated for 1999.

Toledo Metal Spinning is a privately held company, owned by Ken, Craig and Eric Fankhauser.