Founded in the inner city of Chicago, IL. SPC began with 2 employees in a small 500 sq. ft. space in the basement where we used to live. Our concentration was in the manufacturing of small quantity, very complicated and skilled leather goods for the local utility companies.
To add more employees to keep up with demand, we moved to a rented 5000 sq ft space in an industrial building on the near north side of Chicago. This enabled us to invest in more machinery and the necessities to become the full service sewing plant we wanted, including adding a significant number of employees.
We expanded to also include contract labor for other manufacturing factories. This time period was important because it gave us the time to slowly build our own client base, we learned other sewing techniques and products. Most importantly, we could see by changing some labor techniques, we could manufacture products to look high end, but redesign slightly to save significant labor costs. Companies found we could manufacture a good product at a lower price while still holding on to the look/feel/integrity of products.
As our name grew through the Midwest, we found a niche in the advertising specialties market. Since the majority of our products were silk screened, we invested in our first printing equipment. A heat tunnel enabled us to immediately start sewing on fabric as soon as the printed piece came out the dryer. Our turn around time was decreased by a couple of weeks, a metric that is very important for the advertising specialty market.
Manufactured large volumes of canvas grocery bags with store name screened on the bags. Standard orders ranges from 5000 to 25,000 bags for chain stores. Stores began implementing savings offers to their consumers to reuse their canvas bags, deducting .25 to .10 every time the bags were used.
Besides the standard bags and ad specialty products, we began to expand our line to accommodate clients’ needs; binders, pouches, luggage and to take on more challenging projects. We gave our clients alternatives to “standard” products. We began to manufacture items of point of purchase displays to major retail stores, including table skirts and banners with oversized imprinting. Some of these items were displayed internationally.
SPC manufacturing takes on its first huge job. 185,000 cashier bags for a major retailer. Completed within 8 weeks. We got a reputation for being reliable.
Custom designing and production became our standard. We still manufactured for the gift/award industry, but this was the beginning of our designing of packaging for existing products. We were the pioneers in many areas, but especially in the “added value” packaging arena. We were known for more “out of the box” designs.
We were the first to design cases for packaging yard sports games that are still being used today. We also were one of the first to design “soft luggage” for a major player in the luggage market.
SPC needed a permanent home, so a 15,000 sq ft factory was purchased on the west side of Chicago. This purchase gave us the opportunity to rehab the building to make the production as efficient as possible.
We began a focus on designing and prototyping new products for companies that were sometimes manufactured overseas by our clients. Our designs went from drawings to samples that were photographed, consumer tested in Chicago, then small and medium runs, usually 25,000 units and under. As growth of the products continued, patterns were sent to client’s factories for production overseas.
Designing “lines” for our clients to meet the ever changing needs. A line of bags for commuters was contracted that would suite different needs, including some insulated compartments, areas for shoes, areas for files, books.
The reality of off shore manufacturing hit SPC, so we refocused to find a new niche. We knew we could not compete with South American countries on price, but we knew we could focus on quality and delivery. Our new niche was born.
We searched for 1.5 years for a new factory location, Johnson City, Tennessee in the Appalachian Mountains. We knew this was a large manufacturing area of sewn products, so the labor talent was here.
SPC acquires a totally automatic printing press with heat tunnels for quick textile printing. We now have a 6 color, 8 station fully automatic printing press.
We continue to push the Made in the USA concept. Our products are not disposable like so many imported goods become. We still manufacture large volume bags similar to the products we started with if they are specified to be made here.
We purchase new, the latest machinery every year. With the newest equipment, we can keep our labor figures down and still produce very strong, unique products.
SPC Owner Kim Schneider becomes a leading advocate of historic restoration in the Johnson City Tennessee area. Kim's projects include the renovation of a downtown fountain and the founding of the Friends of Olde Downtown organization - a group dedicated to the support and promotion of downtown Johnson City Tennessee. The Blue Plum Festival and First Fridays are two regularly occurring events that have been organized by the Friends of Olde Downtown.
Continued growth in Tennessee. While the quantity of individual orders has decreased, the number of clients has increased. Whether it’s carrying cases for delicate electronic instruments, specialty work vests, or custom covers for the military manufactured with high tech fabrics, SPC Manufacturing can meet your needs! Our products cannot typically be found through the usual distributors so contact us now to discuss your custom sewing solution.