Manufacturers honored for commitment to Sedalia

Betty WoodEDSPC News

Several local industry companies were recognized Thursday evening for their long-term commitments to Sedalia and Pettis County during the 13th annual Manufacturer’s Milestone Anniversary Recognition Banquet at the Sedalia Country Club.

A common theme throughout the night was how proud the owners and company representatives are to call Sedalia home, with many noting they wouldn’t want to locate anywhere else.

Rusty Kahrs, president of the Economic Development Corporation and emcee for Thursday’s dinner, noted that the annual event is a way to thank both local manufacturers and those who support local manufacturers. ”The industry sectors we serve are the Manufacturing, Distribution, Warehouse, Logistics, Technology, and Energy sectors. Our manufacturers encompass 29 percent of the employment base in Pettis County at an average wage of $45,000,” Kahrs said. “Each year, we take this opportunity to pay tribute to the companies within those sectors we serve who are celebrating Milestone Anniversaries in Pettis County in five-year increments.”

Honorees ranged in years from 15 with ProEnergy all the way to 90 with Zephyr Manufacturing Co. Inc.

Zephyr, 200 Mitchell Rd., was founded in 1927 as a manufacturer of corn brooms. Since then, the family corporation has expanded into all types of institutional cleaning tools with more than 35 primary product groups, totaling more than 2,000 items that are distributed throughout the United States.With 40 employees, some of Zephyr’s key markets include janitorial suppliers, paper suppliers, institutional grocers, hardware wholesalers and convenience stores. Zephyr recently acquired an Arkansas company that manufactured a household corn broom, which will now be manufactured in Sedalia.

Zephyr president R.J. Lindstrom Lindstrom is a fourth-generation owner of the company, something he noted isn’t very common.

“Less than 3 percent of companies make it to the third generation and beyond, so it’s fairly amazing I was given the opportunity to do what I do,” Lindstrom said. “… A recent acquisition, only about three weeks ago we bought another company that was making a broom in their factory in Little Rock, Arkansas. As the world goes full circle, we started as a broom manufacturer in my great-grandfather’s garage in Kansas City 90 years ago and here we are making brooms again 90 years later. So we’re very excited. None of that would be possible without Sedalia and the workforce in Sedalia.” Celebrating 70 years, Owens Corning, 2700 W. 16th St., was previously known as Pittsburgh Corning until just a few months ago when Owens acquired the Sedalia factory. The company manufactures Foamglas cellular glass insulation, the dominant cellular glass insulation product on a global scale.

“I’ve been here in Sedalia now about six weeks,” Plant Manager Stephen Phillips said to laughs from the crowd. “But on a serious note, Owens Corning is very proud to have acquired the Pittsburgh Corning plant here in Sedalia. … We’re looking forward to our partnership going forward and we’ll be able to provide stable employment here in the community, good jobs. We definitely are going to continue to invest in that facility and we see great opportunities in the future.”

County Distributing Co. Inc., 1800 Eagleview Dr., is celebrating 60 years in Sedalia. Robert “Bob” Beykirch established the company in 1957 with just two trucks, two drivers and projected sales of 60,000 cases of beer for the year. Now, County Distributing distributes more than 175 malt beverage brands sourced from nine brewer suppliers. At its fifth location, the 48,500-square-foot facility is 97 percent larger than the first facility and the company employs 45 people. They have other locations in West Plains, Missouri and Pittsburg, Kansas.

“We couldn’t feel more comfortable or be more proud to be in Sedalia, Missouri than anywhere else we can imagine,” said Paul Beykirch, who owns the company with Joe Beykirch. “We know distributors across the nation … but we don’t wish to be in their shoes. We’re happy to be here, we love it. We thank all of you for being our friends and working with us with our wonderful employees.”