Vac-U-Lok Heads South to Stay, Grow
After an exhaustive nationwide search process that lasted more than a year, Vac-U-Lok and The Greenville Area Development Corporation have announced the relocation of the company’s operations from Rockford, Illinois to Greenville, South Carolina, effective immediately. The move includes the relocation of the company’s owners, equipment and assets to the Upstate, and the planned addition of 3-6 additional jobs over the next several months.
Founded in Rockford in 1997, Vac-U-Lok provides customized vacuum workholding systems to customers in numerous industries, including aerospace, automotive, medical devices, defense and consumer goods, said Doug Green, president and founder of Vac-U-Lok. The company’s product line includes vacuum chucks and vacuum tables, vacuum systems, safety accessories, coolant return systems and vacuseal gaskets.
“This area is conducive to business growth and success, and has a tremendous demand for our product line and capabilities” said Green in explaining the relocation. “We visited this area and fell in love with the diversity of the community, its quality of life and the robust business environment. We see the sky as the limit for Vac-U-Lok in Greenville County”
The new Vac-U-Lok operations will be located in over 4,000 square feet of existing space at Concourse Way in Greer, to which the company is currently moving transferred equipment and upfitting to meet their needs, said Green. He sees the advanced manufacturing focus of the Upstate as a natural for growing their business.
“Our goal is to quickly stabilize operations here to serve existing clients – which range from the plastics and composites industries to satellite manufacturers, and from guitar manufacturers to aerospace organizations — then to grow into new geographies where our expertise in custom vacuum workholding solutions can be utilized to advantage” said Green. “With such a diverse customer base and continuing demand for workholding solutions other than vises, we expect a steep growth curve for Vac-U-Lok in our new Upstate home”
The company’s custom-built equipment helps manufacturers stabilize, or hold motionless, materials without the bending and bowing disadvantages from side pressure that is inherent in vises. “In any industry where materials need to be cut, ridged or customized in some way while being held absolutely motionless for precision crafting, our equipment can be an ideal solution,” noted Green. “We focus on delivering custom solutions, tailored to customer requirements with absolute precision.”
With customers coast-to-coast, Vac-U-Lok could select virtually any geography for their new headquarters and manufacturing facility, noted Green, while adding that the Greenville County operation will emphasize outstanding customer service, premium quality, and just-in-time delivery of finished equipment to clients. “We’re very pleased to establish operations here in Greenville County, and appreciative of the support and leadership of the Greenville Area Development Corporation, the City of Greer and Greer’s economic development team for making this announcement a reality”
The discovery of Greenville came after traveling the country extensively, looking for just the right location. “My wife and I traveled from California to Texas to Florida and across the Carolinas and kind of stumbled across Greenville” he said. “We fell in love with it immediately, although the final decision to relocate the company here is testament to the positive economic climate of South Carolina and the diligent follow-up of the area’s economic development teams as well”
Vac-U-Lok will collaborate with local workforce organizations in the recruiting of employees – including machinists, mechanical engineers, and administrative and sales professionals – beginning later in fourth quarter 2010. Further details will be announced at that time.
“Vac-U-Lok’s decision to relocate here is continuing evidence of the quality of life appeal and economic vitality of this area,” commented Jo Hackl, chairperson of the Greenville Area Development Corporation. “Their capabilities add to the growing base of suppliers needed to support our advanced manufacturing cluster. We’re pleased to have them here in Greenville County”
“Vac-U-Lok is a good example of a company whose innovative products and core competencies fit an important need in the Upstate,” said Wryley Bettis, Chairman of the Greer Development Corporation. “Smaller businesses are the lifeblood of American business, and Vac-U-Lok is entrepreneurial, innovative and growth-oriented. They’ll be a great addition to the City of Greer and Greenville County.”