From metal cleaners to wipes.
Address: 1001 E. Mohawk St.
Wittenberg, WI 54499
Founded in 1992 to market water-based metal cleaners in the commercial and retail markets, Top Brass Inc. transitioned to wet wipes production in 1995, sparked by an idea for a travel pack of lens wipes.
Top Brass'president Mark Burgess is happy with this transition and wouldn't have it any other way. "Top Brass is a wet wipe converter, specializing in small to medium runs, with the ability to tear a line down, reconfigure and start a completely different product in a matter of a few hours. We have experienced steady growth as related to the wet wipes industry and anticipate this trend continuing due to the convenience and portability wet wipes provide consumers," he said.
Pointing out that the company retained the name Top Brass although it stopped marketing its metal cleaners, Mr. Burgess said, "We discovered very quickly that the sales turns were much better in the wipes business than in the metal cleaning."
Mr. Burgess attributed Top Brass' growth to its flexibility and small run capability. "We service large and small companies that need to get their products to market quickly. We package everything from pet and auto to anti-bacterial and medical surface sanitizers. We are FDA and EPA registered. Most of the wipes we package are for companies that market worldwide, with the largest concentration of products for the U.S.," said Mr. Burgess.
Armed with an average of 60 to 70 employees, Top Brass plans to add a 30,000 square feet space to its current facility in Wittenberg, WI in May 2010, bringing its total footprint to 50,000 square feet.
No stranger to the green movement, Mr. Burgess said the expansion will be in line with environmental standards." Most states have programs like Wisconsin's Focus on Energy that assist with design and funding for energy efficient equipment and buildings. Our expansion will be 100% heated and cooled by a Geo-thermal system and we are changing our existing lighting to energy efficient fixtures that will cut our light costs by 50%."
When queried whether Top Brass still makes the lens wipes that catapulted the company to its present stature, Mr. Burgess said," We still make the lens wipes and for compatibility reasons have them third party tested every year, since lenses and lens coatings are constantly changing. Pet and auto wipes have traditionally been a very small piece of our business, but there is a noticeable spike in the Anti-Bac and Medical Sanitizer wipes demand due to the HINT flu."
Mr. Burgess recalled how he came up with the idea for a travel pack of lens wipes. On a sales trip to Florida in late 1994 he was trying to clean his sunglasses and wished that he had a portable, one step lens cleaner. "All I could find at the time was a spray bottle or a paper based single towel that was very abrasive with a high alcohol level. When I returned I discussed my lens cleaning issues with my partner Brad McKay. We decided to pursue the lens cleaner idea," said Mr. Burgess.
Mr. Burgess went on to explain that peel and reseal packaging was just starting to emerge in the U.S. in 1995. "Brad had a former co-worker who was working for a converter who had just purchased a line to make peel and reseal packages. After a brief discussion and a few samples from the converter, we decided flexible packaging would be the perfect choice for an easy to use portable wipe dispenser. In 1995, alcohol levels higher than 40% would damage anti-reflective coatings, so we developed our See Clear solution. We employed Colts Laboratories in Clearwater, FL to test See Clear on all current lens coatings and received our first Performance Seal. We contracted the production of our See Clear and a couple of additional products in peel and reseal until 1997. In 1998 we decided to expand our facility, build our own equipment and produce our own products," said Mr. Burgess.
Finally, Top Brass is credited with developing and patenting Flex-Pac Mount, a flexible resealable package of wipes that has two parallel adhesive strips mounted on the back of the pack that allows the user to mount and dispense towels at the point of use. "We are developing other packaging related ideas that will enhance and expand the effectiveness of marketing retail and commercial products," said Mr. Burgess.
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|Title Annotation:||Company Cameo; Top Brass Inc.|
|Article Type:||Company overview|
|Date:||Jan 1, 2010|
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