LOVES PARK, Ill. (WTVO) — No matter how you measure it, a Loves Park company has been successful for decades, with success that weighs on a wide range of Rockford area industries.
“[We do] everything from grams to tons, and everything else in the middle,” is how Cream City Scale CEO, Jay Garnhart, likes to describe his family business.
“Grams being down to an analytical balance,” Garnhart continues. “We’ll go down to 1/10 of a milligram, which can narely be seen by the human eye, all the way up to massive tons, up to railroad strength, like 400 tons.”
Garnhart and his wife Lorri bought the company more than 20 years ago, putting everything on the line: mortgaging houses, investing their savings.
Garnhart had been with the company since the late 1970’s, so he knew the business.
When it went bankrupt, he bought two healthy part of Cream City, one in Wisconsin, the other in the Rockford area.
“To make it, we went into the heavy capacity even more, in the farming, milk industry, cheese, food…and that’s how we kind of survived the hard times,” he says.
Now, both Lorri and their son, Ryan, is involved.
Ryan worked his way up to Vice President of the company after starting at the bottom of the totem pole when he was 17-years-old.
“[I did] everything. I grabbed a broom. I stamped weights, because we have to track weights by number. I stamped weights with a punch. I calibrated the rental scales, about every small thing you can think of,” Ryan says.
Agriculture is one growing part of the business, with bulk weighing scales.
Other divisions involved heavy capacity — like a truck scale –or analytical, measuring things down to the gram.
Cream City equipment also tested the structural strengths of the ramps at Wrigley Field.
“Nothing’s ever the same here,” Garnhart says.
Most of what the company does is service, sales, and rentals, but there is a technology component, too.
“We also have a software division here,” Ryan says. “We program these things to communicate with PLC’s (Programmable Logic Controllers) that customers use, here. We do custom farm software, for people like Maplehurst, that track grain.”
The last year or so has been pretty crazy for the Cream City Scale family: they just relocated to a new 12,000 square foot site on N. Bell School Road, making room for development near the Loves Park Costco.
One of Cream City Scale’s major customers, Danfoss, is right across the street.
The company serves 1,800 to 2,000 companies all across the Midwest.
“It’s been a journey,” Ryan says. “It really has. And I only plan to make it that much bigger.”
A ribbon-cutting ceremony for Cream City Scale’s new facility is scheduled for Friday morning.