Keith Everson, president and chief executive officer of Sussex IM, is in the business of solving problems. He purchased the Sussex IM plant back in 2009 after Rexon, the former owner, was forced to close several of its manufacturing plants during the recession. Everson has worked in the plant for more than 33 years.
Since 2009, he has grown the company from 200 to 400 employees and in addition to servicing brands like Loreal, Proctor & Gamble, GE, and Neutrogena, Everson and his development team have launched Mr. Lid, an innovative plastic storage container that comes with the lid attached.
“Everything is timing,” Everson said. “I always had this product in mind, but I couldn’t do anything until I owned the company.”
Everyone has a drawer or a cupboard in his or her house for plastic storage containers, Everson said.
“I know I’m not alone. My head would explode trying to find the right size lid for one of these containers every time I wanted to put away leftovers or take my lunch to work,” he said.
Sussex IM filed a patent for the product in 2010, and they teamed up with another local firm to produce an infomercial. The product is now available at Wal-Mart, Bed Bath & Beyond, and Target, and is moving from the “As Seen on TV” section to traditional retail aisle, Everson said.
“We’re in the business of solving problems for people,” Everson said. “This product is only a sliver of how we do that.”
Additional segments of business for Sussex IM include wall-mounted hand sanitizer dispensers, plastic insect termite traps, and a new product line of flavored mouth guards for athletes.
According to Everson, Sussex IM completes directly with China for this manufacturing. The company has a full staff of engineers and a highly automated facility, Everson said.
“A lot of these products used to be made in China,” Everson said. “We’re a huge proponent of the “re-shoring” effort. We’re bringing a lot of this type of manufacturing back state-side to Sussex.”