Custom Products reached its 60th anniversary | Independent review
Hundreds of people gathered to celebrate Custom Product’s 60th anniversary on Friday.
The company, formerly known as Reinke Sheet Metal and Manufacturing, was founded by Arvid Reinke, father of current owner Randy Reinke, in 1959. The company creates agricultural products such as the “Cozy Cab” for all makes, sizes and shapes of tractors. Over the decades, the company expanded its factory from 1,000 square feet to over 150,000 square feet in 2016.
“It’s a constant change, on the one hand,” said Randy Reinke, of the adjustments made in his business. “I mean, follow our customers, the technology, you know, we’re a component supplier. We are always buying new equipment, new technology – remaining competitive for this purpose – and workforce development in the workforce pool.
During the celebration, which included a lunch for visitors, tour guides offered attendees an overview of the factory construction site – showing how a cabin is made.
While growth at the Litchfield plant has been steady, Custom Products is unlikely to launch a new location, Reinke said.
“You’re starting over,” he said. “(It’s) a huge investment and you have to create a workforce in it (and) employee management… It’s not just about building a factory, you have to have someone run it. There is a lot of duplication of effort to have a satellite factory.
The current economic climate has affected steel prices, according to Mike Watson, Sales Director of Custom Product.
“We had to manage some tariffs,” Watson said. “We had to deal with some steel increases. Well, I think last year, you can tell, it went down to 20 percent. But from my perspective, it’s about reaching out to our customers and trying to put some kind of deal in place to resolve this issue. … It goes up and down, now it’s a little bit back down to where it was a year or a year and a half ago.
Steel prices have risen with the threat of tariffs, according to Robert Kill, president and CEO of Enterprise Minnesota, who visited Custom Products on Friday.
“But yesterday I was at a company in Winona that just got a big contract because of the tariffs,” Kill said. “They just had this case. The good part is that it’s going to lead to some automation jobs that this company is now going to put in place – employing more people. “