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Growing Parry Sound firm gains national recognition.

Growing Parry Sound firm gains national recognition

A Parry Sound company has made a national magazine's list of the 50 fastest growing companies in Canada.

Kropf Industrial Inc., a machine and welding shop, came in 45th in the second-annual ranking by Small Business in its June edition.

The company's claim to fame is manufacturing a hydraulic trailer for transporting boats.

"We found a real niche in the market," Kropf explained.

The company builds about 28 of the hydraulic lifts a year, each selling for an average price of $18,000.

It has been selling approximately the same number of trailers for four years.

The trailers have a load capacity ranging from five to 40 tons and can pick up a boat right from the water.

The Parry Sound company is not the only one building such equipment, but Kropf noted his product has certain advantages.

"Ours is quick and easy to use. That's the biggest feature."

Kropf Industrial Inc. has been in business since 1979, but has been selling the trailers for five years.

Small Business uses annual sales over a five-year period in preparing its top 50 list.

Kropf Industrial saw its revenue rise from $311,000 in 1984 to $1.4 million last year. Its 1989 profit was $90,000.

However, Kropf is modest about his company's ranking.

"It's pretty unofficial," he said, noting that the magazine sends out a questionnaire on which the rankings are based and there could be a thousand companies which didn't respond.

Despite that, Kropf said there could be positive aspects about the ranking.

Some suppliers have already mentioned that they have seen the company's name listed, he noted. "I suppose it does something for your credibility."

Kropf also thinks the ranking might come in handy in the future if the company wishes to expand and needs financial support from the banks.

The firm's financial growth has also been matched by an increase in the numbers of employees from seven in 1984 to 21 at present.

In 1989 its totalled $300,000, with the United States being the largest export market. However, one of the hydraulic lifts has been shipped all the way to Belgium.

Along with manufacturing the lifts, the firm is also a custom-fabricating machine shop. However, it is unique in that it does its own research and development.

"We do many things which are new and different," Kropf said.

The company regularly develops a product at a loss in order to test it, he added.

The business had its beginnings in 1978 when Kropf started working after after-hours with a portable welder and a pick-up truck.

He soon quit the local machine shop where he was employed during the day and started full-time in his own enterprise.

Kropf said the business was successful right from the start.

As a Northern Ontario firm, it has received funding from the federal and provincial governments several times along the way.

As for the future, Kropf said the hydraulic trailers have many potential applications other than handling boats.

Kropf Industrial was the only Northern Ontario company to make the top-50 list of Small Business.

There were 25 companies listed from southern Ontario.

The top spot belonged to 1141 Packaging Inc., a packaging wholesaler in St-Leonard, Que. Its annual sales grew from $100,000 in 1984, when it was founded, to $8 million last year.
COPYRIGHT 1990 Laurentian Business Publishing, Inc.
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Copyright 1990, Gale Group. All rights reserved. Gale Group is a Thomson Corporation Company.

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Title Annotation:Manufacturing Report; Kropf Industrial Inc.
Author:Bickford, Paul
Publication:Northern Ontario Business
Date:Jul 1, 1990
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