A Coleman manufacturer is continuing to fill orders despite a fire last week, and displaced workers as a result will get their health insurance costs temporarily covered by the company.
The fire gutted one of the buildings at the Curtis Road campus of Robinson Industries in the morning hours of March 31. No one was injured, but the building and the company’s offices were lost, said Ronda Robinson, marketing manager.
It was one of two plants the company uses to manufacture plastic shipping and packaging products, she said. The other is in a second location on M-18 near US 10.
“We never shut down,” she said. While they sifted through the rubble of the one building, company operations continued in the other building on the Curtis Road campus. Those include engineering, extrusion and shipping and inventory.
In fact, the company announced earlier this week in a social media post that they were sending out the first trucks of products since the fire.
Robinson said that the community has pitched in to help them. That includes some competitors who’ve promised the company some time on their machines to make products.
“We have a wonderful, wonderful community,” she said.
The company also recently announced that it was helping employees temporarily displaced by the fire to qualify for unemployment. The company is also covering three months of health insurance premiums, and Robinson said they hope to have the plant rebuilt.
Since the old one was approximately 70 years old, the new one will be bigger and better.
It’s not known how much damage was done by the first, Robinson said. Insurance adjusters were at the scene of the fire Wednesday. The building wasn’t a complete loss, either. A handful of machines were damaged and might be salvageable.
The company is celebrating its 75th anniversary this year. It was originally founded in 1947 by Fred Robinson, who left a position with Dow Chemical, where he was helping to invent Styrofoam. He founded Robinson Industries with his wife Ardis, according to a history section on the company’s website.
Owing to greater demand from the auto industry, the company started manufacturing plastic pallets in the 1960s.