BEND, Ore. – June 21st, 2016 – For Paul Filipowicz, owner of Redmond-based Poltex, it all started with glitter-glue and a sketch of the Pink Panther. When Paul’s then-girlfriend (now wife and business partner) created the Pink Panther masterpiece (pictured), he wanted to build a special display case for it. He sketched the design, bought some materials and handcrafted the case in his garage. It didn’t take long for friends and co-workers to notice and soon he began making customized pieces. Fifteen years later, Poltex is thriving. EDCO recently sat down with Paul to learn more about the world of plastic fabrication.
The masterpiece that started it all.
EDCO: How did Poltex get started?
PF: While I was working for Kaiser-Permanente I felt like I needed three hands to get everything done. I’ve always been a very organized person who believes that “there’s a place for everything and everything in its place,” so I began to build plastic containers, shelves and stands for work. I realized there was a real need for these types of products, so I taught myself some basic CAD skills and launched Poltex out of my garage.
EDCO: Tell us more about the types of products you create.
PF: We specialize in plastic fabrication products for organization and storage purposes. Most of our clients are hospitals, labs and clinics. Locally, we’ve done work for Ida’s Cupcakes and Breedlove. We also have a big client in Canada called the Key Cafe.
Custom cupcake tower for Ida’s Cupcakes
We have two product streams – custom pieces and standard pieces. Basically, every product we make starts as a custom piece. We save all of our designs and if something can be used by multiple clients then it becomes part of our standard product line. We start with a CAD program and design a picture of the product. We then send that to the client to verify that the piece meets all their needs. Once the design is approved, we input it into a CAM program, which creates the 3D model that is sent to our CNC machine. This machine cuts the product so we can build it and ultimately, deliver it to our client.
The CNC machine in action
EDCO: Why did you choose Redmond to grow Poltex?
PF: Redmond is awesome. The business community is really tight knit and resources like REDI (Redmond Economic Development Inc.) are less taxed than other places. The rental rates are also really good here. We found our current space two and a half years ago and we’ve been really happy with it.
EDCO: How has EDCO impacted your business?
PF: Early on, we were trying to get our products into St. Charles. I had cold called them, but was having a hard time getting my foot in the door. In 2014, Jon Stark at REDI asked us to participate in a “Made in Redmond” tour. We agreed and there happened to be a guy from St. Charles on the tour. It was right around the time they were opening their Prineville location and they needed products like ours. I came in on a tight timeline and created products that were better, cheaper and faster than what they had.
EDCO has also helped us find business incentives through the Enterprise Zone. Jon has been a constant and available resource since day one.
EDCO: Where do you see yourself in 5-10 years?
PF: In the near future, we need to increase our online presence and grow our non-distributor business through channels like Amazon, Facebook, Instagram, and YouTube. We have a consultant coming in to help with our website and online integration, which will improve our credibility and visibility.
We also just got a VA government contract that gives us the ability to market and sell to VA hospitals. Nobody else is currently creating custom plastic fabrication products of this quality. There’s a lot of potential and a lot of untapped markets that we can pursue.
For more information about how EDCO can help grow your business in Central Oregon, please call (541) 388-3236.