As visitors made their way through the entrance, they were greeted by employees and executives. Each person was given a metal bottle opener upon arrival, which was made at the plant on 168th Avenue. Before the tours began, people enjoyed drinks and snacks as they mingled.
CEO Linda Slagel said she was thrilled to see the turnout of the community at the celebration. She was excited for people to have the chance to go behind the scenes and see the machinery at work.
“So many people have not seen the actual press,” she said. “To make it an open house (and) to tour the back of the building (is) more exciting.”
Before the public opening, a VIP session and tour took place. Customers attended a ceremony in which Slagel was awarded plaques from the state and the local Chamber of Commerce. Both recognized Stanco for being in business for 100 years.
“(It) makes me very proud and still humble,” Slagel said. “Mostly just grateful that we made it 100 years, and hopefully make it another 100 years.”
The tour took visitors through the factory, where employees were posted at each station to explain the machines, their purpose and what they produce.
Slagel’s son, Gerald Slagel Jr., is the president of the company’s New Mexico location. He found it interesting how much curiosity people have about what the company makes.
“(It’s) pretty amazing, a lot of people have questions on the tour about basic manufacturing,” he said.
The fourth-generation, family-owned manufacturing company was founded as Peerless Novelty by Warren Stansberry in 1917 to produce components for the sewing industry. The company changed its name to Stanco Metal Products in 1977, and relocated from downtown Grand Haven to its current location west of Grand Haven’s airport in 1991.
Stanco has since opened plants in Williamston, South Carolina; and Santa Teresa, New Mexico. The company now provides a full range of metal fabrication and support services, including stamping, forming, welding, drilling, riveting, assembly, power coating and packaging.