We often include company profiles in Enterprise Minnesota® magazine to highlight how a manufacturer faced a challenge and got it “right.” It’s a terrific way to celebrate company successes while giving readers an inside look at a well-run operation.
In the next issue of the magazine, writer Grace Bureau profiles IDC Spring, a Coon Rapids-based company that offers an example of getting it right on two fronts: transferring leadership to the next generation, and maintaining a small company atmosphere in the face of remarkable growth.
Grace has written for us over the last couple of years, and this is her first feature story. She gives readers a fantastic view of the company started more than 48 years ago, Industrial Door Company (IDC), in Gerry Sizer’s garage.
Sizer led the company through an acquisition of an industrial spring manufacturing company and also became something of an expert in the industrial door field. Along the way, IDC added 23,000 square feet to its Coon Rapids facility.
By 1996, Sizer was ready to retire. But before searching for prospective buyers, he felt that his now-grown son and daughter – Jeremy Sizer and Jodi Boldenow – who used to spend their summers helping their dad around the plant, deserved first dibs.
Gerry Sizer knew it was important for his kids to understand the business from the ground up. So, they rotated through different departments for six months at a time, learning sales, service, operations and purchasing. “We just fell in love with the business,” Jeremy Sizer says.
Full transfer of ownership began in 2000, four years after Gerry Sizer first pitched the idea. At first, the siblings wrestled with the mental hurdle of making the business theirs–not their father’s. Their initial goal was to double revenue, from $10 million to $20 million annually.
“The biggest we could fathom to grow by was 100%,” Boldenow remembers. “And then we did that within a relatively short time period, and we realized that the sky was the limit.”
IDC Spring has since boomed into one of the largest industrial spring manufacturers in the Midwest. The company has increased revenue by 1,000%, added IDC plants in two other states, and started serving customers in Central America, South America, the Middle East, and Europe.
But, as Bureau writes, perhaps most impressive is how, through it all, the company has maintained the friendly, people-focused feel of a much smaller business.
“It really feels like a $1 million company run out of someone’s garage,” Enterprise Minnesota business development consultant Jim Schottmuller says. “When [Boldenow and Sizer] first told us they were about to hit $100 million, we were shocked. They’re such down-to-earth people, you just feel ‘small company’ all over them.”
Boldenow and Sizer are very intentional about maintaining that small company atmosphere and ensuring a strong culture across all operations. “We want to know our employees,” Sizer says. “One of the reasons Jodi and I travel is to know our people as well as we can. We want to keep that family feeling even as we get larger.”
Look for the full feature, due to publish on November 15th.
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