ROME — A new Web-based service allowing customers to purchase powder paint from Nortek Powder Coating, LLC should accomplish two goals for the Rome company.
First, it will allow existing and new customers to order powder paint easily online, sparing the need to make a phone call to place an order. Second, it will free up Nortek’s employees to focus on its growing custom mixed-paint business as it looks to expand its Rome facility.
Launched in September, the Nortek MiniPack Web service allows customers to purchase smaller quantities of the company’s standard colors online, around the clock. Customers can choose from about 75 colors in quantities up to 55 pounds at shop.nortekpowder.com.
The site is ideal for customers who don’t need large quantities of paint or a custom color, says Eugene Yelle, marketing consultant for Nortek. It also gives prospective customers a place to order a small quantity of powder paint to try out, he adds.
Powder paint is used in the powder-coating process, where dry paint powder is electrostatically applied and then cured in an oven. The process, which does not use any solvents, is very low in volatile organic compounds (or VOCs) making it an environmentally friendly way to replace traditional liquid painting, Yelle says.
Powder coating is used in a number of industries including automotive, agriculture, aerospace, construction, electronic equipment, fitness equipment, outdoor furniture, playground equipment, and transportation.
Because of its green element, more companies than ever are looking at powder paint as an option, Yelle says. Nortek’s online store now gives those customers the opportunity to buy paint without having to listen to a sales pitch. They can just buy a small batch and test it out, he says.
At the same time, it leaves Nortek’s 11 full-time employees free to work on the company’s growing business of mixing up batches of custom colors and textures for customers, Yelle says.
“In the industry, there’s a pretty big demand for custom colors,” he says. Larger companies, such as DuPont, typically don’t want to bother mixing custom colors unless it’s a large batch, which left a void in the industry for smaller businesses that still wanted custom colors. That’s where Nortek has carved its niche, Yelle.
Nortek’s president, Borin Keith, designed custom equipment that allows Nortek to efficiently mix custom colors, and that business has been steadily growing, Yelle says. Overall, the company has seen its sales grow 75 percent over the past three years, and hopes to keep that growth going with the new website as well as plans to expand its Rome facility, he says.
Currently, Nortek leases 30,000 square feet from Mohawk Valley EDGE at 5900 Success Drive in Rome. After eight years at the site, Nortek is ready to expand and is in the process of buying the building from EDGE, a move that will give it another 15,000 square feet, Yelle says.
While it’s too early to speculate how much the new online store will increase sales, Yelle says the hope is that Nortek continues its growth and is able to hire an additional five or six employees over the next two years.
Established in 2005, Nortek Powder Coating (www.nortekpowder.com) can handle both small and large production runs with a capacity of more than 10 million pounds of paint annually. The company, which does not release sales figures, has a staff of nine salespeople.
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