Each year the Hillsboro Development Corp. nominates Hillsboro businesses to be recognized by the Kansas Department of Commerce.
This year’s nominees were Container Services Inc. and Rod’s Tire & Service.
On hand to present Merit Award certificates was Bob Fettke, representing KDOC.
Clint Seibel, the city’s economic development director, presented the story of each business prior to the award presentation.
Container Services Inc.
Container Services Inc. is a family-owned, privately held manufacturer of containers designed to meet the specific requirements for a variety of needs in the packaging industry.
The goal of CSI is to provide cost-effective “blow molded” packaging solutions so manufacturers can successfully market their products.
Darrell Driggers and partner LaVerne Esau launched CSI in 1990 as a supplier of plastic containers and warehouse capacity for Barkman Honey Co. The close proximity of the two businesses has provided a cost saving in freight expense, benefitting both businesses.
While Barkman Honey remains CSI’s largest customer, the company has expanded its customer base to include Dorothy Lynch, a salad dressing producer in Duncan, Neb.; BG Products Inc., an automotive company in Wichita; Nature Nate’s, a honey business in McKinney, Texas, and several other businesses.
Containers manufactured by CSI are distributed nationally and internationally by major retailers, including Bass Pro, Costco, and Wal-Mart to name a few.
Seibel said CSI has made significant capital investments in two basic areas: facilities and equipment.
• Facilities: CSI began operations in 1990 by building an 8,000 square-foot facility. The business has since had eight expansion projects. The most recent one, completed in 2015, brought the total facility to 96,000 square feet.
• Equipment: CSI had two production lines when they began operations, but has grown to nine production lines over the years.
“Nearly every two years CSI has had an expansion project of either facilities or equipment since 2000,” Seibel said.
At the start, CSI had five employees to operate two productions lines, working two shifts. Today, CSI employs 62 people to operate the nine production lines working three shifts.
“A stable workforce has been a key factor in achieving the growth rate that CSI has experienced,” Seibel said.
When Esau retired in 2013, Driggers purchased his partner’s ownership share
In January 2016, Driggers engaged his oldest son, Brent, to begin taking over various areas of management in order to provide a smooth transition to the next generation of ownership.
“Most of the upper and middle management positions have been promoted from within, which has resulted in company loyalty and low turnover,” Seibel said.
He added that Darrell Driggers and his employees support the Hillsboro community and give of their resources to promote the area.
Rod’s Tire & Service
Rod and Carrie Koons launched the business in 1998 in the building now occupied and renovated by Central National Bank on North Main Street.
They moved to the current location at 401 Orchard Drive in Hillsboro Heights during Memorial Day weekend 1999. The 6,000 square-foot-facility included four service bays, an office area and storage.
Seibel said the Koons’ vision was bigger than simply owning a tire store—they wanted it to be an exceptional one.
“Rod and Carrie had a vision to open a…business that was committed to quality in both staff and product,” he said. “While tire sales and service is front and center, they have expanded into complete mechanical services for engine and power train repair.”
The stated goal of Rod’s Tire is to “supply customers with the highest quality tires on the market, and work to exceed expectations. This is accomplished by offering unmatched levels of service, selling quality products and having competitive prices.”
Over the years, Rod’s Tire & Service has expanded in employees, facilities, inventory and equipment
“They now have approximately 12 employees, several of which are ASE certified mechanics,” Seibel said.
The business has launched four expansion projects. The most recent one was the addition of 4,000 square feet for service bays completed earlier this year, bringing the total square footage under roof to 23,600.
“A key component to the growth of a tire store is having inventory available to sell and install on a moment’s notice,” Seibel said. “The significant addition of warehouse space has allowed Rod’s Tire to carry a large inventory.”
In addition to facility expansions, Rod’s Tire has expanded its equipment, especially service trucks. The business started with one service truck and now has four. That has allowed them to offer tire services on location for farm and truck transport applications.
“With the combination of experienced field technicians and modern equipment, they are able to meet your needs in the field or on the road,” Seibel said.
He said Rod and Carrie Koons believe in giving back to the community by sponsoring different community events, especially youth and church programs.
Seibel said the couple also have a passion is to support youth education and recreation. Rod currently serves on the USD 410 Board of Education and is an avid supporter of high school sports programs.