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Midstate Spring winding up for changes in 2013

By Journal Staff


DeWITT  —  Alex Melnikow likes to describe Midstate Spring’s business with a short sentence.

“We buy wire, we play around with it, and we sell it ourselves,” says Melnikow, the spring manufacturer’s vice president.

But Midstate Spring isn’t approaching a short list of changes in the future. In fact, the company is in for a few twists and turns.

For starters, it’s set to move a satellite operation from Geddes to a spot a few doors down from its 20,000-square-foot headquarters at 4054 New Court Ave. in DeWitt. And that operation will nearly double in size with its move.

Plus, Melnikow and his brother-in-law, Mike Komurek — who is Midstate Spring’s operations manager — are preparing to purchase the company from Melnikow’s father. They’ll likely expand the manufacturer’s capabilities, and would like to add equipment that would allow it to do more work for the medical industry.

Midstate Spring currently makes components for a range of clients, including medical-device manufacturers, the aerospace industry, the firearms industry, and power-tool makers. Its springs are also used in large home appliances, lawnmowers, valves, and solenoids, according to Melnikow.

“We work with wire roughly the size of human hair to roughly the size of your thumb,” he says. “And we’re looking at the machines that can go even smaller than 0.003 inches of wire.”

Midstate Spring, founded in 1939, has been in Melnikow’s family for generations. His grandfather owned the business, his father and uncle owned it, and now he and his brother-in-law plan to purchase it from his father, Walter Melnikow. They’re currently in the process of negotiating purchase terms and hope to finalize a deal early next year.

Their acquisition will take place as Midstate Spring comes off two of its most successful years, Alex Melnikow says. The company is on pace to have generated about $6.5 million in revenue in each of the last two years. It added two full-time employees, bringing it to 42 full-time staff members and two to three temporary workers, depending on its workload.

Alex Melnikow is aiming to grow revenue by 5 percent to 10 percent in 2013. That’s a realistic goal, given the number of sales opportunities the firm is currently pursuing, he contends.

Midstate Spring should move into some extra space in the coming year as well. It will relocate from about 10,000 square feet of space leased from Carmen Spensieri at 1 Dwight Park Drive in Geddes to a building of about 19,000 square feet that it recently purchased at 4040 New Court Ave.

Midstate Spring closed on the new space at the beginning of this year, Alex Melnikow says. The business bought the building from High Court Supply for about $350,000. Community Bank N.A. provided financing for the acquisition, which Midstate Spring completed through real-estate agent Edward DeLong, he adds.

The satellite location could move from Geddes as early as the upcoming spring. It will be on New Court Avenue no later than the end of next year, which is when its lease ends in Geddes.

The relocating operations handle Midstate Spring’s larger wire manufacturing, according to Alex Melnikow. The move will make the company much more efficient, he adds.

“For management, having it 100 yards away will be great,” he says. “We do store some things in our second building as well — some of our larger inventory that we don’t really need here. When it’s closer, it’s much better.”

Midstate Spring will need to perform between $60,000 and $100,000 in renovations to prepare the building for its manufacturing. It will upgrade the facility’s electrical service and add a high-pressure gas line. The company has yet to decide whether to fund the upgrades with its own cash or tap its line of credit with Community Bank.

The spring industry was difficult in 2008 and 2009, but it has bounced back in recent years. Midstate Spring has between 250 and 300 active customers in a given year, according to Alex Melnikow. The company moved a worker from a full-time production job to a position managing all of production, helping it meet customer demands, he says.

“What makes us special is the customer focus that we have throughout the organization,” he says. “People on the floor are trying to get their jobs done because they know it matters to the customer. People in the office are trying to be very responsive.”

Alex Melnikow also recently completed the Emerging 200 Initiative offered by the U.S. Small Business Administration’s Syracuse district office. The experience helped him focus on areas where he and Komurek need to develop in order to be successful as a new generation of company leaders, he says.

“Sales is one of the big ones,” he says. “And then taking this customer focus to the next level and making sure that I’m personally getting the chance to go in there and talk to customers.”


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