That wasn’t the case with this one. When I visited Lake Erie Rubber & Manufacturing, the business was exactly one month old – at least under its new ownership.
Jon Meighan took ownership of the Fairview Township business on Aug. 1. The business, formerly Scully Enterprises, was in need of a new owner, and Meighan, an engineer at GE Transportation who always knew he wanted to own his own business, was looking for an entrepreneurial investment.
It was a good match, Meighan decided. He was able to put together the financing – including a $400,000 loan from the Erie County Redevelopment Authority – to make the purchase, and he renamed the company Lake Erie Rubber & Manufacturing.
Now he has his eye on more changes. He is looking to grow the company, by attracting new customers and diversifying that base.
More than anything, he wants to build something that lasts in Erie County. There were other parties interested in buying the business, he said – but many of those would have taken the work and moved it out of Erie County.
Though a Syracuse native, Meighan has made his home here, and he wants to build up his company here. And that’s good news for Erie County.
“We’re not selling to consumers in Erie,” he says – instead, Lake Erie Rubber & Manufacturing mostly sells to outside companies. “That’s money coming into this business, coming into Erie, from elsewhere.”
With Lake Erie Rubber & Manufacturing, Meighan wants to build a legacy for his young family, and to do right by his employees.
“We want our employees to share in the success,” he said. “As we grow the business, we want them to have a part in it.”
About Lake Erie Rubber & Manufacturing: The company has 11 employees, with Meighan making a hire to add a new position in the past month. He hopes to add more employees as the business grows. The company, which makes molded rubber products, largely serves the transportation industry, though Meighan has his eye on expanding to recreational vehicles and agriculture. Their customer base is largely within a 12-hour drive from Erie, he says.
Why Erie County: There are several factors that make Erie County appealing, Meighan says. One notable one is the ready-and-able workforce here. For example, Meighan says, the workers at his company had been capably running the business since the previous owner passed away – now he can work with that capable staff to add new customers and grow the business. In addition, the affordability of purchasing a business is appealing, he says. “This wouldn’t have been manageable in Pittsburgh, Cleveland or California,” he says.
Challenges of Erie County: For Meighan, the challenge was finding the right fit – the right business that spoke to his expertise and offered opportunity for growth. Now that he’s found the right businesss, he’s working to build a company that will last for generations.
Fun fact: Meighan might already be lining up the next generation at Lake Erie Rubber & Manufacturing – his daughter was born just five days before he took ownership of the company, and his son celebrated his second birthday on the same day the Erie County Redevelopment Authority awarded him the loan.