Manufacturing Briefs

Manufacturing, Food & Beverage

Brookfield manufacturer expanding at former Vernon driving range

American Friction Welding has purchased The National Golf Center in the Town of Vernon and plans to relocate from Brookfield and expand its business there.

American Friction Welding, 115 N. Janacek Road, purchased 18 acres of land at S74 W24255 National Ave. for an undisclosed price.

The company is planning to construct a 60,000-square-foot light manufacturing facility on the site, according to Waukesha County Park and Planning Commission records.

The facility would initially employ approximately 25 people, with the possibility for expansion over time, John Fischer, president of American Friction Welding, told the county.

The National Golf Center, which included a driving range and a mini golf course, closed Nov. 15.

Golf pro Paul Mindel, who owned The National Golf Center for 15 years, said selling was a hard decision, but he realized he had become too consumed by the business.

“Leaving the Mukwonago, Vernon and the Big Bend area will be very difficult,” Mindel said.

Mindel is starting a new business, the Wisconsin Golf Academy, which will focus strictly on golf instruction.

He will have two locations. One in Keystone Physical Therapy, 17045 W Capitol Drive, Brookfield and the other at Swing Time, W197 N10340 Appleton Ave., Germantown.

“I had been thinking about doing this for about 18 months,” Mindel said. “From a quality of life standpoint, it’s going to be great.”

TJM Innovations gets MEDC loan to ramp up GutterStuff production

Milwaukee-based TJM Innovations LLC recently received approval for a $1.24 million loan from the Milwaukee Economic Development Corp. to purchase equipment.

TJM also plans to invest $1.24 million from other sources, for a total investment of $2.48 million. Of the investment, $2.3 million will be used to purchase the equipment and $180,000 will go toward the installation of a sprinkler system, according to the MEDC application.

The additional equipment will be used to expand the company’s GutterStuff product line. GutterStuff, a foam gutter filter that allows water through but prevents debris buildup, is sold at several big box retail stores and a number of hardware stores in the U.S. and Canada, as well as online.

TJM currently has 12 full-time employees. With the funding, the company expects to add 10 full-time and two part-time employees over the next two years.

“We are just going gangbusters, so we need to keep up with demand,” said Julie McNamara, president of TJM. “We are in a couple of large retailers nationwide and in Canada and our contractor business is picking up, both in gutter protection and pest control. We anticipate a 30 to 40 percent growth per year over the next three to five years, so this loan will help us meet the additional demand and also improve on our operating costs.”

The manufacturer, which also makes a Roof Drain foam filter, CorbZorb eco-friendly absorbent products and Bandshell iPhone sound amplification cases, is based in a 104,000-square-foot facility at 5519 W. Woolworth Ave. in Milwaukee. TJM, which was founded in 2007, is also currently expanding its CobZorb line, McNamara said.

Busch Precision acquires Circle Tool Grinding

Milwaukee-based Busch Precision has acquired West Allis-based Circle Tool Grinding Inc. for an undisclosed amount.

Busch Precision manufactures and machines critical-tolerance and unique specification parts and large components.

Circle Tool offers tool grinding and sharpening services, a capability Busch did not previously have. It will be integrated as the Circle Tool division of Busch Precision.

The Circle Tool facility at 1916 S. 73rd St. in West Allis will be shuttered, and much of the company’s equipment will be moved into extra space in Busch’s 140,000-square-foot facility at 8200 N. Faulkner Road in Milwaukee. Three of the six employees from Circle Tool will come on board at Busch, which now has a total of 54 employees.

“This acquisition adds an important service we can now offer to our customers who are looking to control their tooling costs,” said Michael Mallwitz, president and chief executive officer of Busch Precision. “We have used the services of Circle Tool Grinding for many years, and have always been very pleased with their quality. We plan to continue that quality tradition.”

Complete Office acquires Wausau distributor

Germantown-based Complete Office of Wisconsin has acquired the office supply and office furniture operations of Wausau-based Hadley Office Products.

The transaction price was not disclosed, but Complete Office’s revenue will grow from $50 million to $60 million with the acquisition, said Ron Beam, co-owner and chief executive officer of Central Office.

Complete Office distributes office supplies, furniture and promotional products throughout Wisconsin. It will add Hadley’s Wausau facility and its five employees to its distribution network. Complete Office, which now has about 165 employees, also has branches in Madison, Appleton, Stevens Point, La Crosse and Sheboygan.

Purchasing Hadley has allowed Complete Office to further expand its footprint in central Wisconsin and gain a group of loyal customers, Beam said.

Mark and Deb Hadley, former owners of Hadley Office Products, will retire.

Complete Office has grown from $11 million in sales in 2006 to $60 million in sales today, both through organic growth and through two other acquisitions: Bubrick’s Office Supply in 2006 and Emmons Business Interiors in January of this year.

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