Business name: Rex Plastics Inc.
Owners: Family business with brothers Rich Clark and Eric Clark, and their cousin Toni Schmidt.
Address: 12515 N.E. 95th St., Vancouver.
What the business does: Rex Plastics Inc. is a custom plastic injection molder that works with customers large and small internationally. The company often helps inventors and entrepreneurs develop their products.
How has the economy affected your business: Rich Clark said the economy has forced his company to become even more lean than it already was and to invest more time seeking customers. He has seen 20 percent of customers from 2010 disappear in 2011 — which means the business needs to recruit new clients to replace them. Most of the customers who did not return were new and may have been only testing products with prototypes, but some of them were customers with production histories.
Greatest challenge: Converting quotes into customers. Clark said his company spends a lot of time giving quotes for work, but it’s difficult to replace enough disappearing customers to offset rising overhead costs. Rex Plastics has increased its active customers by almost 30 percent in 2011.
The concern that weighs heaviest on Clark is the uncertainty that exists in the economy and the business climate in general. He said it would be easier for his business and others to succeed if they were confident that the path forward involved free-market principles and not more burdensome regulations and costs.
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What’s ahead: Rex Plastics is promoting new offerings. It has started to offer a lifetime guarantee for the injection molds it builds. Clark said he is excited about the Audio Fox, invented by his father, a wireless speaker system that allows personalized control over the volume of audio broadcasts and recordings without headphones. The company is exploring several avenues to sell the Audio Fox.
Year established in Clark County: 1971.
Telephone: 360-892-0366, 800-839-0366.
Hours: 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday through Friday.