Reporting Bob Roberts
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SOUTH ELGIN, Ill. (CBS) — You can’t buy a cup of Coca-Cola from a soda fountain without it passing through a Hoffer valve made in South Elgin.
As WBBM Newsradio’s Bob Roberts reports in this week’s Made in Chicago, if you walk a few hundred feet in Hoffer Plastics’ state-of-the-art, 360-thousand square foot facility in South Elgin and you’ll see products ranging from caps for Raid bug spray to Ford door locks and Whirlpool control knobs.
LISTEN: WBBM Newsradio’s Bob Roberts reports
Hoffer’s been family-owned from day one.
“My dad started the company in 1953,” said Bill Hoffer, the son of founder Robert Hoffer. Bill Hoffer’s children all work for the family business too.
The first product was parts for a deodorant stick.
“Actually, the first shipment of parts – he and my grandfather carried them to the airport, and actually shipped them by air to a company out in Erie, Pennsylvania,” Bill Hoffer said.
Aptar aerosol valves soon followed, and remain a big customer more than 50 years later. Coke has few worldwide suppliers, but Hoffer is one.
And Hoffer says it’s a business that remains built on trust, integrity and service.
“You have to realize our customers own the tooling that we run and maintain for them, so we do not own it, so if any time, if we were not meeting their needs, they can remove the tooling from us and take another supplier,” he said.
But they don’t go elsewhere, and Hoffer is confident that the business will remain family run into the 22nd century – putting the caps on everything from your juice cartons to your ketchup bottles.