Top Shops: Safeway Services Earns its Way to No. 1

The owner of Safeway Services, a painting and powder coating provider in Rockford, Illinois, wants to be more than just a hired hand.
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Tom Lynde doesn’t want to be just anyone’s custom coater. The owner of Safeway Services, a painting and powder coating provider in Rockford, Illinois, wants to be more than just a hired hand.

“We quote projects for companies from all over the Midwest, but we prefer customers who are looking for a relationship with their suppliers,” says Lynde, whose family-owned business was started in 1989 and this year finished as the No. 1 shop in the Products Finishing Top Shops Benchmarking Survey for liquid and powder coatings.

Safeway runs two Wagner automated powder lines, an electrostatic wet line and a fluidized bed line, but it also does much more than just provide coatings for its customers. The shop can coat, label, package and ship products directly to its customers’ customers, and also has warehousing and light assembly available when needed.

The company specializes in military-specification wet coatings, urethane and polyurethane coatings, and epoxy enamel and alkyd enamel water-based coatings, as well as powder coatings.

Lynde says his staff works very quickly to fulfill bid requests, but he is careful to make sure the shop will be working with a partner who is seeking quality coatings and recognizes the value of it.

“We strive to be the best at what we do, from beginning to end,” he says. “We pride ourselves in the fact that RFQs are normally responded to within three hours, our lead times average 3.5 days, and we have emergency services available for a fee.”

Safeway has a qualified staff of 33 that has helped it earn the No. 1 status in this year’s survey. Lynde’s daughter, Jamie Hanson, is the customer service manager; Heriberto Ibarra is the quality manager, Miguel Sosa the plant manager and Bobby Parham the shipping manager.

“Everyone in our organization is charged with providing the best coatings we can for our customers at a competitive price,” Lynde says. “Our customers find us to be extremely responsive.”

Lynde and his team know that a quality, durable-coating project starts with a proper cleaning and treatment phase. Safeway uses a five-stage nanotechnology wash and treatment process for most production parts, and its wash system can handle items as large as 3 by 3 by 6 feet. It also offers complete steam cleaning that Lynde says is not limited by part size.

“This is not a hot-water pressure washer that people call steam; this is 100 percent steam,” he says. “We also offer a phosphate coating for surface preparation to provide excellent adhesion and to minimize corrosion.”

With a turnaround time of fewer than four days, Safeway turned in a 99 percent on-time delivery rate in 2016, and the first-pass quality yield of its finished products—the percentage of product that passed final inspection on first attempt without requiring rework—was 96 percent last year.

With about 85 active customers, Lynde knows that meeting high demands coupled with quality coatings is a must for his shop. It is one of the big reasons why the Safeway staff is thrilled to be a Products Finishing Top Shop, let alone the No. 1 shop in the survey.

“We are excited to be named a Top Shop,” he says. “Everyone here has been working for years to make Safeway Services the leader in our area when it comes to coatings.”  

Safeway Services Inc.

Rockford, Illinois




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