ELKHART — You see them every day, but do you ever think about where labels come from?
The latest “hidden gem” of Elkhart County business puts its mark on many, many items, even though few people have heard of it.
“Everybody needs a label,” said Karen Cripe, co-founder of Label Logic. “We laugh because it's hard to believe we're here in Elkhart,” she said.
Label Logic Inc.
FOUNDED/WHY they're HERE
Jeff and Karen Cripe started their label business in their garage in Union, Mich., in 1997. Karen sold packaging and got interested in labels, while Jeff worked as marketing manager at NIBCO when they met and started dating. They decided to branch out on their own, the business grew and they're now in their third facility, a manufacturing facility on Pine Creek Road on Elkhart's east side. They employ 38 and have sales representatives in several states.
WHAT THEY DO
They print a wide variety of labels for all sorts of needs, from automotive to dairy to meat to plants.
“We used to buy and sell labels, and we moved to producing,” said Jeff Cripe. Things have continued to grow, and now they've filled their facility, which when they moved in five years ago, they figured would have plenty of space for a long time.
WHAT YOU DIDN'T KNOW YOU KNEW
Ever look at a plant at Home Depot or a package of Pilgrim's Pride chicken, or Smith or Eckrich foods? You may well have seen labels made by Label Logic.
WHERE THEY REACH
Brazil-based JBS, the world's largest meat processor, uses Label Logic labels, as do grocery chains. So do the people who supply plants to Meijer, Home Depot, Lowe's and Menards. Toyota uses Label Logic to supply some of the labeling used in its automobiles, and Label Logic is working with other car companies.
There are plenty. The Cripes estimated that between Indiana, Ohio and Illinois, there are roughly 500 companies that produce flexographic labels, or flexible labels on large rolls. They differentiate themselves with quality and quick turnaround, Karen Cripe said. “Most places that do flexographic printing, lead times are 10 days to two weeks. We can turn things in one to three days if necessary.”
Ÿ Their press operators have a combined more than 70 years of experience.
Ÿ The company is growing quickly. In 2007 their sales were about $2.6 million, while this year they're on pace to exceed $10 million. They're also preparing to add a third shift.
Ÿ They keep 3,000 different dies on hand to help cut the shapes customers need for labels.
Ÿ Each press can handle up to 750 feet of labels per minute.
Ÿ They print almost a billion labels each year.
Ÿ They have their own art department and make their own press plates.
Ÿ In a few weeks they'll be only the fourth manufacturer in the U.S. that can create labels with radio-frequency identification tags.
Ÿ They pride themselves on a low turnaround time for customers. Dana Arnett, plant manager, said he and two other guys can switch the presses for another run in just a couple of hours.
Ÿ Label Logic also has a digital press, which allows them to print high-resolution postscript data files (pdfs) directly to labels.
Ÿ They're setting up a new press, and paid cash for it.
Ÿ In addition to creating and printing labels, Label Logic handles logistics for customers, printing large volumes of labels and then warehousing them until customers need them.
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