When Stevenson Company, Inc. decided it was time to modernize their facilities, dedication to local sourcing was paramount. "We grew up in Topeka. Our innovative products ship worldwide, but it all started by working with local food plants, supplying high quality specialty fabrications," said Joe Pennington, president of the family business. "We wanted to extend that same loyalty to our community partners." Stevenson fabricates spiral chutes - think a spiral playground slide, only sized for chips or candy - for global leaders in the food production market.
Matt Pivarnik, President & CEO of the Greater Topeka Partnership, said "If Shawnee County businesses pledge to shift just 3% of their out of market purchasing to our local market it could improve employment and have an economic impact of up to $200 million, so we initiated a campaign called “TSC3.” When we approached Stevenson's with the proposal, they immediately pledged their wholehearted support."
"We started sourcing locally when the project began, and prices were unexpectedly lower. The quality of services was outstanding," said Pennington. He said buying office furniture locally resulted in a 40% savings when compared to internet vendors. Service providers, such as the alarm company, were on site within minutes. "Three percent seemed a low threshold, so we challenged ourselves to procure exclusively from hometown suppliers and contractors." Electrical, plumbing, lighting, networking, computers, painting, concrete, and signage contracts were all awarded to Topeka merchants. "These people are our neighbors, so it is satisfying to contribute to their entrepreneurial success."
Mayor Michelle De La Isla said, "I am proud of the commitment Joe and his team have put forth; not only to be an active citizen and business in our city, his love for the community is yet again exemplified by his commitment to supporting local businesses.”
The shop office renovations at Stevenson Company feature standing workstations, technology improvements, and a refurbished customer counter. The focal point is a larger than life mural depicting teammates forming stainless steel parts, soldering metal at the Statehouse, and fabricating their signature product, a stainless-steel spiral chute. Emblazoned above the doorway in bold letters are their hallmarks, "Quality, Innovation, and Craftsmanship."
What's next for the crew at Stevenson Company? "Back to work," said Pennington, "enhancing shelf appeal, eliminating waste, and improving the bottom line for our customers. We will also be introducing our services to tree nut processors, pet food makers, and the coffee world. Need to keep those whole beans whole, right?"