When Norma King started her Rockford business, Ever Ready Pin, in 1981, it was with modest resources, two employees operating two punching and grinding machines out of an oversized garage, and the determination that she could do better than the competition. Four years in, business was booming but the oversized garage wasn't meeting her needs – she needed more space to be efficient. That need led to the construction of a new building and three major expansions, resulting in a growth of more than 44,322 square feet.
When Norma King started her business Ever Ready Pin in 1981, it was with modest resources, two employees operating two punching and grinding machines out of an oversized garage, and the determination that she could do better than the competition.
Four years in, business was booming but the oversized garage wasn't meeting her needs – she needed more space to be efficient. Norma wanted to build but interest rates were high and she didn’t want any debt. Her plan: pay for it straight-out with cash on hand. She turned to a fellow eager young business, Cord Construction, and asked them to draw up plans for a new building within her cash budget.
After a successful build with Cord Construction and an astounding business maneuver to pay solely with cash for a new building, Ever Ready Pin moved to its current operation on International Drive in Rockford in 1984. Since the original build, Every Ready Pin continued to partner with Cord through three major expansions and the addition of 100 production machines resulting in a growth of more than 44,322 square feet. Norma's philosophy on debt remains the same to this day and she continues to operate her business conservatively. She admits there were times in the early years that she went without a paycheck to ensure her staff, vendors, and bills were paid. She humbly states, "I can't take money if I have debt. As a business owner, I think you should pay yourself after your commitments are paid."
Always planning for the future, Norma had the foresight in the 1990s to purchase three lots surrounding the building on International Drive allowing her to grow her shop in the years to come. Keeping her vision in mind, Cord advised her to use a building framing system that allowed for easy and less disruptive additions as she grew her operation. Given the three expansions, it was a sound decision.
Undertaking a major expansion is a big investment but Norma didn't have any reservations when the time was right. Her attitude has been, "You've got to grow or be left behind." For over thirty years, she has relied on Cord for future-proof solutions that fit her budget and for guidance on building regulations. "Cord has allowed me to focus on running my business. They draw up the plans and ensure we are following the proper safety and workplace regulations."
Punching and grinding is a dirty business. Without a proper shop exhaust system, steel particles and CNC machine oil can visibly pollute the air, drip from the walls and cling to operators' skin and clothing. Because she had been in shops like that before, Norma was determined since day 1 to offer a clean work environment. "I believe a clean, quality work environment is a key component to recruitment. I've seen how bad a shop can be without a good exhaust system. I didn't want that for my team or for my building. We all deserve clean air." Cord ensured that Ever Ready Pin’s production team could breathe easy with a custom exhaust system attached to each CNC station and a massive "Smog-Hog" filtration system in the middle of the shop collects the smoke, mist, and dust.
Right here in Rockford, Ever Ready Pin is a prime example of the American dream – Norma’s entrepreneurial spirit paired with her conservative business sense allowed her to see her dream become a successful reality and leave a legacy for her family. Cord Construction is proud to have been a partner with Norma and a part of her dream since 1984.
This fall, Ever Ready Pin’s exterior will get a little work done – paint and a new roof. Cord’s team is excited and ready to be on the job.