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Kansas City based manufacturing company survives and thrives by adapting to change and capitalizing on core competencies.
Today's Arrow Material Handling Products traces its roots back to 1969, when two men, Leo Hallak and George Owens, founded Arrow Forklift Parts Inc with headquarters in the Blue Valley Industrial
In the beginning, the company wrecked out old forklifts and sold the componants and parts. With success at this venture, they acquired Econmobile Manufacturing, a small forklift OEM, and expanded to manufacturing attachments such as side shifters and carriages, and remanufacturing assemblies such as engines and transmissions. By 1976 Arrow had transformed from a forklift "chop shop" to one of the industry's premier wholesale suppliers of aftermarket parts, attachments, and remanufactured assemblies.
Business was good, and Arrow enjoyed over a decade of prosperous growth. Then the industry itself began to shift.
"In the early to mid 1980's our industry became flooded with sellers of commodity parts. The suppliers who'd once been reluctant to sell to non OEM's began to open up and Arrow went from being one of few, to one of many parts resellers. It became dog-eat-dog with prices and profit margins declining as everyone vied for business" said Ross Gault Sr., Arrow's current President.
"We decided to focus solely on products we considered as our core competencies; fork tines and attachments. Arrow's staff included skilled metal workers and engineers with the talent to use these core products as a base to design and build new and innovative product lines. Our sales department was excited about these new opportunities because it gave them something distinctive to sell and the products are top notch quality."
As Arrow evolved from a supplier of parts to an attachments manufacturing powerhouse, its business grew so substantially the company changed its name from Arrow Forklift Parts to Arrow Material Handling Products, to better reflect the current product offerings.
Arrow continues to evolve and grow with three distribution centers; Chesapeake, VA; Commerce City, CA; and Bolton, Ontario, CN. In 2013, the company moved from its original location on Kansas City's East side to a larger, more modern heavy manufacturing facility in Lenexa, KS.