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Local manufacturer Deflecto lives to see 50

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On The Beat Industry News In Brief

Deflecto LLC, a local company that invented some commonly used household and office products, almost didn’t see its 50th anniversary in Indianapolis.

At the end of 2008, the company warned that it planned to shut its north-side headquarters and factory and a Fishers warehouse and put 219 people out of work.
 

OTB main Deflecto LLC makes plastic venting products and office supplies. (IBJ Photo/ Perry Reichanadter)

The company survived because of a last-minute intervention by two key retail customers, Chief Financial Officer Paul Thompson said.

“It could’ve been a lot worse,” he said. “We made some hard and difficult cuts, but we survived and we have a plan for growth.”

Deflecto, which celebrated its golden anniversary on July 27, now has about 150 employees in Indianapolis and Fishers.

The company says it’s the world’s largest maker of chair mats, bicycle reflectors and dryer venting supplies. Its main retail outlets are Ace Hardware, Home Depot and Wal-Mart. Thompson declined to name the customers that propped up the company.

Local entrepreneur C.P. Meyer started Deflecto in 1960 when he invented a plastic air deflector to prevent factory compressors from freezing. He soon realized the deflectors could be used on home vents to deflect air away from windows and furniture.

Five years later, Deflecto came up with the now-ubiquitous wall pocket when an employee, looking for a way to sort invoices, turned one of the deflectors upside down.

The Meyer family sold the company in 1998 to a private-equity group, The Jordan Co. of Deerfield, Ill. Deflecto remains the flagship brand of Jordan Specialty Plastics.

The company has manufacturing facilities in Dover, Ohio; St. Catharines, Ontario and in China. Venting products and some injection-molded office supplies, including the wall pockets, are made in Indianapolis.

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  1. I took Bruce's comments to highlight a glaring issue when it comes to a state's image, and therefore its overall branding. An example is Michigan vs. Indiana. Michigan has done an excellent job of following through on its branding strategy around "Pure Michigan", even down to the detail of the rest stops. Since a state's branding is often targeted to visitors, it makes sense that rest stops, being that point of first impression, should be significant. It is clear that Indiana doesn't care as much about the impression it gives visitors even though our branding as the Crossroads of America does place importance on travel. Bruce's point is quite logical and accurate.

  2. I appreciated the article. I guess I have become so accustomed to making my "pit stops" at places where I can ALSO get gasoline and something hot to eat, that I hardly even notice public rest stops anymore. That said, I do concur with the rationale that our rest stops (if we are to have them at all) can and should be both fiscally-responsible AND designed to make a positive impression about our state.

  3. I don't know about the rest of you but I only stop at these places for one reason, and it's not to picnic. I move trucks for dealers and have been to rest areas in most all 48 lower states. Some of ours need upgrading no doubt. Many states rest areas are much worse than ours. In the rest area on I-70 just past Richmond truckers have to hike about a quarter of a mile. When I stop I;m generally in a bit of a hurry. Convenience,not beauty, is a primary concern.

  4. Community Hospital is the only system to not have layoffs? That is not true. Because I was one of the people who was laid off from East. And all of the LPN's have been laid off. Just because their layoffs were not announced or done all together does not mean people did not lose their jobs. They cherry-picked people from departments one by one. But you add them all up and it's several hundred. And East has had a dramatic drop I in patient beds from 800 to around 125. I know because I worked there for 30 years.

  5. I have obtained my 6 gallon badge for my donation of A Positive blood. I'm sorry to hear that my donation was nothing but a profit center for the Indiana Blood Center.

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