Mark Mortensen opened All-Color when he couldn’t find the quality powder coating he was looking for. Over 20 years later, the company is thriving.
All-Color Powder Coating in Oregon, Wisc. hasn’t had a sales force in the 23 years they’ve been operating, but their business is steadily growing. Mark Mortensen, the president and founder, says their success comes down to one word: communication. “When customers contact us, they’re looking for information,” says Mortensen. “That’s why we make it a point to answer all emails and phone calls as soon as possible.”
To build his business by word-of-mouth, Mortensen has insisted on a culture of customer service from day one. “We have always taken pride in providing our customer with the best coated part we can give them,” he says. His determination to provide honest, timely communication was born out of frustration with the options he had for powder coating in the early 90s.
Mortensen had been working at a stamping fabricator and couldn’t find reliable, high quality powder coating. At the time, nearby shops were just converting to powder coating. Parts took a long time to come back, and, when they did, they weren’t always up to his standards.
As the saying goes, if you want something done right, do it yourself, and that’s exactly what Mortensen did. He opened All-Color in 1996 with an old, secondhand conveyorized system in a rented 6,000-square-foot space.
In just two years, the business outgrew the space and in 1999, they moved into a new, 22,500-square-foot facility. The outdated system was upgraded to a new conveyorized line from Amiberica with roll-on roll-off booths from Gema and Wagner with fully automatic guns on the Gema booth.
All-Color’s current facility, where they serve window covering companies, solar panel manufacturers, job shops and more.
Over 20 years later, they’re still there, with many of the same staff — although the facility has expanded to just over 80,000 square feet to accommodate their growth. Now, they have two automated lines, one large batch system and one cart-based batch system, plus warehouse storage space and plans to add a third conveyorized line this summer.
For Mortensen, it’s been exciting to grow alongside their customers. “Primarily, over the last five years or so, the growth has been with existing customers that are also growing,” says Mortensen. Many of these companies have been working with All-Color since the beginning.
Commercial window covering and solar panel manufacturers are All-Color’s biggest customers, but they serve a number of job shops and OEMs. They provide powder coating of metal substrates plus light assembly, packaging and transport as needed.
To keep customers for over 20 years, Mortensen aims for perfection. His strategy is to work with customers early in the design process to reduce problems that might pop up later. Because there’s no sales force, the production manager or Mentensen himself respond to leads. Mortensen sees this educational approach as a big advantage, because customers and prospects are talking to someone who will see their part through the shop. They’ve got the knowledge and experience to point out potential issues and problem-solve.
To build his business by word-of-mouth, Mortensen has insisted on a culture of customer service from day one.
If you spend the time working with your employees to build a business culture of professionalism and customer service, your employees will translate that into long-lasting relationships with customers. For All-Color, that’s the secret to success.
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