Toledo company among 6 honored by U.S. Chamber

Congratulations! Toledo Metal Spinning

The Blade: June 9, 1999

Eric Fankhauser received the application for a National Blue Chip Enterprise Award the day it was due, wrote the two required essays about overcoming business disaster, and got it to sponsors MassMutual and the U.S. Chamber of Commerce by the deadline.

“I knew the story pretty well because we had pretty much lived it for the past year,” said Mr. Fankhauser, vice president of Toledo Metal Spinning Co. He is in Washington, where the company is to receive today on of six chamber Blue Chip awards.

On Feb. 4, 1998, a raging fire lighted the night sky above Clinton Street, destroying 95 percent of the firm’s manufacturing equipment and 80 percent of its manufacturing space – a more than $10 million loss. Within 48 hours of the fire – still of unknown origin – the company had resumed production with primitive machinery. Tools, files, and other equipment collected over 70 years had been destroyed in the fire, but no employees were ever laid off.

Mr. Fankhauser, who works with his father Ken, who is president, and his brother, Craig, another vice president, credited the firm’s 50 employees for the comeback.

Toledo Metal Spinning, which does experimental, prototype, and production metalforming, had more than 500 job orders in process for about 100 customers at the time of the fire.

By the end of the year, sales had reached 83 percent of 1997 levels, and full recovery is anticipated for 1999. Previously, sales had been growing at about 8 percent a year, Mr. Fankhauser said.

The award, which recognizes small businesses that have managed their resources and emerged stronger, is to be presented at the U.S. Chamber of Commerce Building.