Chasing the horizon
president and CEO
Chromaflo Technologies represents the culmination of business lines that have transformed a small, Ashtabula-based manufacturer and supplier of pigment and chemical dispersions into a multimillion-dollar global frontrunner in the thermoset composites and industrial paint and coatings industries.
President and CEO Scott Becker, the former president of Plasticolors, a central building block of Chromaflo’s foundation, envisioned the transformation of that small business into a worldwide player. While at Plasticolors, he convinced shareholders to approve the acquisition of Evonik Industries’ Colortrend global colorants business, which would serve as the doorway to a broad range of markets.
Meanwhile, Becker sought out a private equity firm that would help grow the company without trying to control it, and one that already understood the chemical industry. He ultimately chose Arsenal Capital Partners, and with 99 percent shareholder approval, Plasticolors and Colortrend were blended into Chromaflo through their concurrent acquisition by Arsenal in 2012.
Chromaflo is now focused on expanding its global presence. A purchase agreement with Elementis B.V. in 2012 allowed Chromaflo to acquire the Elementis Tint-Ayd® line of colorant products sold in Europe, the Middle East and Africa. And a 2013 deal combined integrated tinting specialist CPS Color’s colorant business with its own to create an independent global colorant system and pigment dispersion platform.
These deals have led to production in European and Asian Pacific markets, and the company is looking to expand into India and Brazil where Becker is investigating startup and acquisition possibilities.
Today, Chromaflo has some 200 product lines representing an estimated 7,000 products, 11 plants, including three in Ohio, and a global customer base.
Triple the sales
To sum up furniture manufacturer Daniel’s Amish Collection success, President Christopher J. Karman says, “Good employees, good products — and I can’t stress enough, good customers.”
With sales growth that has tripled over the last four years, the company has outgrown its two manufacturing sites and will add a new one this year, including a new headquarters, doubling its plant size.
The company recently sold its Amish Mills brand, and Karman purchased his brother Ted’s share of the company. Daniel R. Yoder, Karman’s partner since 2009, remains a partner — and namesake.
With no shortage of customers looking for Amish-crafted household furniture, the only hindrance to growth is making the product, Karman says. From starting with seven employees, the company now has 150 employees, with about 95 percent either Amish or Amish-raised.
Karman says a big part of the success of Daniel’s Amish Collection is the workforce.
The company hires the most skilled woodworkers it can find, offers a pleasant working environment, a good wage to live on and lets them do their job. Materials used are mostly from Ohio and Pennsylvania.
“Basically, we make furniture the old-fashioned way but on a large scale. I think that is a big part of what has been our success. We have been able to combine Amish craftsmanship with the use of some select machinery such as air tools. … It’s kind of a mix of the old and the new, which has been great. People want to buy American as long as it is good quality and at a good price, and that’s what we’ve been able to supply.”