R&B Grinding City Loan Program to Purchase Equipment
RACINE, WI — A City of Racine loan program, administered by Business Lending Partners (BLP) catalyzed tremendous opportunity for one local manufacturing business facing difficult circumstances. Additional support from Racine County’s Matching Grant Program also helped with management training.
With over 60 years of investment in the community, Racine’s R&B Grinding experienced challenges from reduced sales, capital investment needs and a bank determined to exit.
A collaborative effort from RCEDC’s finance division, BLP, and the City of Racine brought R&B Grinding the financial needs to purchase automated equipment and to meet the needs of their largest customers.
“The Company’s founding family wish to extend their thanks to all the local agencies involved in lending a helping hand when it was needed,” said Barb Lange, President of R&B Grinding. “All agency and City personnel were of the highest caliber and instrumental in crafting a long-term solution. We would not be the Company we are today without the support of RCEDC, BLP and the City of Racine.”
R&B Grinding was founded in 1958 by Ray Biddle, Sr. as a premier grinding company. With the passing of the founder in 2014, leadership of the Company was assumed by Ray’s children, Barb, Linda and Raymond Jr. Today it has expanded to over 130 employees and 100 pieces of equipment providing services including CNC milling and turning, fabricating, assembly, automatic screw machining and welding.
The financing provided by the City of Racine/BLP collaboration was instrumental in negotiating improved pricing with R&B Grinding’s primary customer and continuing its lending relationship with their existing bank.
“We brought this project to our qualified Loan Committee, on behalf of the City of Racine, where it was processed and approved,” said Carolyn Engel, Business Finance Manager at BLP. “It’s an amazing accomplishment, both personally and professionally, to help a longtime local City of Racine manufacturer become more competitive in today’s market.”
Following the purchase of the much-needed equipment, R&B Grinding saw a significant increase in sales, and according to Lange, profitability rose to record levels. This allowed the Company to expand the senior management team by hiring a new general manager, quality manager and engineering manager. As a means of onboarding the new senior managers, R&B Grinding applied for and received a $5,000 training grant through the Racine County Matching Grant Program, also administered by BLP.
The training became pivotal in increasing the team’s understanding of what exemplary leadership looks like, what their natural behavioral style is and how they can work better together to ensure the continued success of the Company. The City of Racine, Racine County and BLP collaboration helped R&B Grinding overcome critical challenges, position the Company for future growth, and retain 100+ jobs in Racine.