Inside the 100,000 square foot warehouse of Sterling Technologies in Lake City lies dozens of plastic products all created from start to finish. To do it they use a process called rotational molding.
"It's a very unique process. In this process what we have are large pieces of equipment and they use a biaxial rotation. So we use nothing other than heat and gravity," said company vice president Cary Quigley.
The products start from ground up plastic powder. That powder is poured into aluminum molds. Then those molds are placed in a 600 degree oven, where they spin over and over. After they cool, the pieces are removed and assembled, if need be. And it's all done by hand.
"If there's a graphic on the part you have to put that graphic on. If there's an insert on the part, you have to put that on. You have your hands on every single part that comes out the door here," said supervisor Jeffery Walizer.
The number one product they make at Sterling is "Bean cars." They're the plastic cars that attach to shopping carts at grocery and retail stores across the country.
"Every grocery store you go to you see those cars. There's a good chance, out of the four shifts here, there's a good chance I made that car. That's pretty rewarding," said Walizer.
Something else rewarding for the employees of Sterling: two recent awards. The McCue Supplier of the Year and Quality awards.
"Of all their suppliers company wide we were their number one supplier. We had 2,400 shipments without any missed deliveries. Of all of our shipments, I believe totaling over 7,500 pieces, there was not a single quality issue," said Quigley.
So business is good at Sterling. Last year alone they sold $7 million in products.
But there's still work to be done. They'd like to have a bigger global presence and turn that $7 million into $14 or more.
"We hope to double our sales within the next three years. Based on some of the new product lines we're bringing in and utilize the current ties we have with some of the big box locations. So yeah, we hope to enhance our workforce here and double, if not triple. So we're excited about it," said Quigley.
As business continues to grow, the company continues to expand. And that means more local jobs to be had creating all their unique plastic products.