May 21, 2009
John Dorroh - [email protected]
A few weeks ago at Market Street Festival, I ran into a former student, Luanne Green, who is now Luanne Massey. After we reminisced about the old days at New Hope High School, I asked what she was doing with herself.
She informed me she had driven a truck for six years and had seen much of the United States.
"Right now I am the plant manager at a local business called Lowndes Manufacturing Inc.," she said. Since I had never heard of it, I wanted to know more.
"One of the things that we make is those," she said, pointing to some really nice camp chairs." They looked terribly comfortable, and I almost asked if I could take a short siesta in one of them. But I chose to trudge on in the heat and find something good to eat and drink.
Role reversal ... student teaches teacher
Yesterday I paid Luanne a visit at 120 William Roberts Road off of South Lehmburg.
Presently they produce four different products. One is cabinet doors for new construction projects and remodeling jobs. They also make embroidery accessories and taxidermy panels as well as camp-style chairs (seasonal).
This seemed like a strange combination of products for one company, and that makes it all the more unique.
I had a difficult time envisioning the pre-set frames for embroidering, mainly monograms onto shirts. But after Massey pulled samples of the EZ pre-set frames and hoops and showed me several pictures, I began to understand the big picture.
"It''s like if you have 1,000 shirts to monogram, this process makes it all uniform (no puns) and easy for whoever''s sewing them onto the shirts. ... In other words, we don''t do the actual sewing here. We just get them ready and then send them out to companies who do."
Lowndes Manufacturing Inc. was recently bought by Sharon and Danny Williams, who also own ABC Embroidery Systems. Sharon told me she has been in business for over 20 years.
"Most of my experience has been in accounting and bookkeeping," she said.
"We''re sister companies," said Sharon Williams. "At ABC we sell embroidery supplies such as thread, needles, bobbins, stabilizers/backings, and items like that. ... We sell all over the country and to Denmark, Australia and the United Kingdom."
There are huge trade shows that they attend such as Martha Pullen in Arlington, Texas, and Chicago.
"We take our products to trade shows all over the country and we also pick up new lines of products and ideas for enhancing what we do here in Columbus," she added.
Looking into the future
Luanne Massey has been with Lowndes Manufacturing Inc. for about three and a half years.
It was noisy inside the metal frame building, and I asked who the young man was who was operating one of the machines.
"That''s Corey Williams, Sharon and Danny''s son. He''s also the sales portion of our company," she said.
"Some of what we do is seasonal. Take the taxidermy panels, for instance. We have a big demand for those during the hunting season. Then when that''s over, we move into other parts of the business," said Massey.
"Some day I''d like for us to be in operation with solar panels. And I''m looking into recycling our products such as the Comotex foam."
I met another worker, Marion Pierson, who is in charge of the painting department.
Lowndes Manufacturing Inc. and ABC Embroidery Systems are two more local businesses which supply specific products worldwide.
The Web site for ABC is abcemb.com. Their address is 1509 Highway 69 S. Call 245-1333.
Lowndes Manufacturing Inc. is located at 120 William Roberts Road. They can be reached at 241-6777.
John Dorroh is a semi-retired high school science teacher, who writes a business column for The Dispatch.