Category Archives: Manufacturing

McGinty Machine has contract on part of the former Big Dog Motorcycles space

WICHITA — In late December, Have You Heard? reported that part of the former Big Dog Motorcycles space at 1520 E. Douglas is under contract.

There’s still not a done deal for the 20,000-square-foot warehouse space near Douglas and Hydraulic, which is east of where Big Dog’s 60,000-square-foot showroom was, but now it’s clear who the potential buyer is.

Nearby neighbor Don McGinty is eyeing the space for his McGinty Machine, which is in a 43,000 square-foot building at First and Hydraulic.

“We’re doing our due diligence now,” McGinty says. “It won’t be definite until I say I really want it.”

It depends on whether he can get tax abatements on the property and new machinery he wants to buy. McGinty says he’s looking at a $3 million to $5 million expansion. He says he’s likely to hire 10 to 15 people over the next couple of years.

“We’re just kicking it up a notch,” McGinty says.

That includes likely developing a sheet metal fabrication shop that will do table-top assemblies to serve aircraft companies.

“In the future, they’re going to want (us) to build the small assemblies, maybe to go into the bigger assemblies,” McGinty says.

His father and uncle started the company in the 1940s by making small aircraft parts.

“Now we go up to 40-foot long,” McGinty says.

More and more, he says, aircraft companies want their machine shop vendors to be one-stop shops for all their parts needs.

“That’s the direction we’re moving,” McGinty says.

To make that possible, his first choice is to expand into the Big Dog space. If he doesn’t get the abatements, though, McGinty says he might have to look elsewhere.

“It’s not really my desire,” he says.

McGinty thinks abatements make sense for Wichita for a couple of reasons.

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A Box 4 U expands into finishing work for its blast-resistant modules

WICHITA — Wichita-based A Box 4 U is expanding its blast-resistant module business.

Since the mid-1990s, Jeff Lange’s company has sold and leased blast-resistant modules for petroleum refineries and chemical plants.

“We create a safe haven for employees,” says John Potts, who is in sales for the company.

The modules could be an office, a factory or even a restroom.

Now, instead of solely using a third-party fabricator to make the boxes, the company is going to begin doing its own finishing work to help with the process.

“We’re just assisting . . . because we’ve got so much work going,” Potts says.

In addition to the company’s office at 4340 S. West St., A Box 4 U is also now leasing a 20,000-square-foot warehouse at 4225 W. Bounous to do the finishing work.

Ted Branson of Landmark Commercial Real Estate handled the deal.

Potts says it will still rely on another company to do most of the work, but he says it made sense for A Box 4 U to take on some of the work itself.

“We’re growing pretty quickly here.”

Coleman Co. to establish leadership center in Denver area and make multimillion dollar investment in Wichita and Texas facilities

WICHITA — In a meeting this morning, Coleman Co. officials informed employees that the company is establishing a leadership center in the Denver metropolitan area.

The new center will house some sales, marketing and product teams that, according to a release, “will have the opportunity to relocate from Wichita.”

It’s not clear if Coleman considers its new leadership center to be the company’s new headquarters.

The majority of Coleman’s 800 Wichita workers won’t be affected.

The company also is investing in its Wichita and New Braunfels, Texas, facilities with a multimillion dollar capital initiative.

“These investment initiatives, including the establishment of a Leadership Center in the Denver area, best position the company for the future and provide a desirable platform to serve our global customer base in the most efficient manner,” said Robert Marcovitch, Coleman’s new president and CEO, in the release.

“The Denver metropolitan area is an important hub for the outdoor industry and will provide us with several key advantages as a global business competing on the world stage,” he said.

“We are, however, absolutely committed to continuing our investment in our Kansas based enterprises.”

The moves will happen over the next 18 months or so.

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Mini-Mac Inc. to expand to a new building

WICHITA — Mini-Mac Inc., which manufactures spacers for the aerospace industry, isn’t going to be so small anymore.

“We have outgrown our facilities,” owner Bob McNamee says.

He’s currently in about 2,500 square feet at 1912 N. 159th St. East.

His new space, which he’ll move into in the early part of 2012, is more than 10,000 square feet over three buildings at 1703 Southwest Boulevard.

Brent Stewart of KW Commercial and Ted Branson of Landmark Commercial Real Estate handled the deal.

Mini-Mac will take 5,600 square feet in the main building on the new property, and the rest of the space will be available for lease.

This is the first time the business has moved since McNamee’s late father, Mac, started the business in 1970.

“It was my dad’s hobby that turned into a business,” McNamee says. “He always had a machine shop in the basement I always remember as a kid growing up.”

McNamee says his father “would do odds and ends for people.”

“He did that in his spare time, that was his passion. And then when he retired from Boeing, he had some people that were in the distribution business, and they encouraged him to get into the manufacturing of what we now do today.”

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Leon Trammell shares business experience in “How Underdogs Win”

leonUPDATED — Looking for a little inspiration during this tough economic time?

Tramco founder Leon Trammell has some insight to offer.

He and freelance writer Brian Whepley have written “How Underdogs Win” about Trammell’s experience in business (available at and

“It’s scary as hell to start a business,” Trammell says.

Several other companies share their stories for the book as well, including Wichita businesses Hiller Inc., High Touch, Greenway Electric and Kansas companies Solomon Corp. and Cobalt Boats.

Trammell founded Tramco in 1967. The company manufactures bulk material-handling conveyors and does business in every state and 57 countries.

“I did not give myself a chance to fail,” Trammell says. “You just cannot have a failure plan. If you have a failure plan, you’ll probably fail.”

So what’s his plan for success?

“You need a niche, and then be persistent,” Trammell says, quickly adding, “But you know, being persistent is kind of elusive.

“I’ve been persistent on an investment I made, and it hasn’t paid out.”

Trammell says you have to relentlessly pursue being excellent.

“Whatever you do you have to be the best at it,” he says. “You never share with your neighbor a mediocre job on anything, do you? No, you share the good job. The good service. So you have to be the best.

“Then it boils down to the Golden Rule. And I know that is hokey. . . . But you have to treat people the way you want to be treated.”

Why bother?

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Entrepreneur Eric Schmidt’s O-Port gives guitars, violins rich, well-rounded tones

schmidtWICHITA — Fisch Haus gallery and art cooperative co-founder Eric Schmidt undoubtedly is artistic, but he’s not the musician he wants to be even though he’s practiced guitar for 10 years.

“I’d almost consider it playing, but not quite.”

His playing ability hasn’t kept the entrepreneurial Schmidt from developing a tool to help other musicians, though.

Schmidt has created the O-Port, a piece of equipment that goes inside a guitar or violin to produce a richer, more well-rounded tone.

“It’s just a big funnel,” Schmidt says. “You know, like the one you drop those coins in. That’s kind of what this thing does with air.”

Some surprises have come out of the invention, he says.

“It just happens to greatly reduce feedback when you play an acoustic guitar through a PA.”

Schmidt already has been selling the O-Port internationally through 11 distributors.

Now, he’s struck a deal with D’Addario, one of the best-known manufacturers of acoustic strings, among other things.

“They’re going to be our worldwide distributor,” Schmidt says.

He’ll also now start a push for U.S. sales through D’Addario.

Schmidt isn’t the only entrepreneurial member of his family.

His wife, Jamie Tabor, is the Chicken Poop lip balm lady.

“It just runs in the family,” Schmidt says.

Connie’s Cookies to begin offering cookie dough for fundraisers

WICHITA — Not long after Connie Hamilton opened her Connie’s Cookies 20 years ago, customers began asking if she would consider allowing her cookie dough to be used for children’s fundraisers.

It is “one of the things I was always afraid to do,” Hamilton says.

With limited storage at her bakery, her concern was that some gung-ho kids would sell 1,500 tubs of dough, and she’d have nowhere to put them.

“Now our capacity is unlimited,” Hamilton says.

That’s thanks to her new arrangement with New York’s Kerr Enterprises to sell her cookies internationally.

The co-packer that is making the dough for international distribution can make dough for fundraisers and then truck it to schools.

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BG Products names Darin Greseth president; Galen Myers remains as chairman and CEO

WICHITA — BG Products is getting a new president, but the company’s current president isn’t going anywhere.

Galen Myers has been president of the company, which manufactures automotive chemicals, since 1993 and chairman and CEO since 2000.

darinMyers will remain chairman and CEO, and Michigan businessman Darin Greseth will become the new president as of April.

The 68-year-old Myers says he once “was younger, and I could do it all.”

Now, though, “It’s time to bring some young, energetic people in.”

Greseth owns Premaco Michigan, which distributes BG Products. He will remain an owner in the company in addition to being president at BG Products.

In only 13 years in business, Premaco Michigan has become No. 7 in sales for all BG distributors.

“So we’ve grown very rapidly,” Greseth says.

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Integrated Media Group expands in Old Town

WICHITA — Thanks to tax credits and a new venture for the company, Integrated Media Group in Old Town is growing.

“We’re developing a new industry in Wichita,” says CEO Jason Opat.

His media development company, which used to focus on doing graphics for films, is now concentrating on autonomous sales kiosks, which feature gesture technology.

The Wichita Eagle profiled the technology, which consists of controlling images and data with hand gestures rather than keyboards, in a Jan. 31 story.

“Nobody’s figured out a way to commercialize it,” Opat says. “I want Kansas to be first with it.”

New investors are helping make that possible.

Opat had several individuals interested in investing, and some end-of-the-year state tax credits that allow about a 45 percent tax credit on investments got them on board.

“That triggered a whole series of events for us,” Opat says.

IMG recently expanded its space at 143 N. Rock Island and may soon need a new building.

“We’re contemplating the next growth,” Opat says.

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Good Housekeeping names Winfield’s Fire Wire one of the top products of 2009

WICHITA — In it’s February issue, Good Housekeeping named Fire Wire one of the 10 most innovative products of 2009.

“It was a total surprise that we were even under consideration,” says Todd Gentry of Winfield’s Inno-Labs, which makes the flexible grilling skewers.

“People started phoning us about it,” Gentry says.

“Hey, you’ve probably heard by now,” they said.

He hadn’t.

Good Housekeeping editors also went on “Good Morning America” to discuss the top 10 products from 2009.

“Of course, we got some play out of that as well,” Gentry says.

“It was a pretty cool honor.”