July 15, 2008

Martindale Firm Gets New Digs

By Burns, Patrick

Raytec, a 55-year-old rain-gutter-components manufacturer in Martindale, knows how to hang in there. It all started when founder Paul Zimmerman took a temporary winter construction job in 1953, putting duties on hold at his small farm.

But that job, helping to erect a building for a Lancaster metal company, would indirectly lead the Zimmerman family to launch Raytech, which last week opened the doors of its new home in the former Bareville Garment factory, 544 Gristmill Road.

Paul's son, Raymond Zimmerman, along with his five sons, operate a national business with three facilities, including a custom metal fabricating business in New Holland and a distibution center in Memphis, Mo., that does limited manufacturing.

During an open house last week, Raymond offered a history lesson on the business.

After helping build the building in 1953, the metals manufacturing company hired my father, Raymond said. He was transferred to the tooling department.

In 1956, his father was diagnosed with multiple sclerosis and had to quit his job. Before he left, Paul suggested that the company automate its production.

The company, Quaker State Metals, whose operations were on the site of the current Alcoa plant, loved the idea.

By 1956, Zimmerman was supporting his family through a home business and a contract with Quaker State to make furrules, a twisted piece of thin metal that keeps a gutter solid when a spike is driven through it.

Paul began working with his father full time after completing eighth grade in 1963, and when his father passed away in 1968, he took over the business. He renamed it Raytec in 1973.

Raytech now employs 40 people.

Besides the gutter fastener and accessories business, Raytec makes seamless agricultural products including carts to move calves, scales to weigh hogs and dairy record-keeping systems. It also does sheet-metal fabrication.

The small business added 39,000 square feet when it moved into the former Bareville Garment Corp. building. Bareville Garment, which dates to 1935, sold the building in 2005.

Raytec moved Jan. 1, roughly doubling the 20,000 square feet it had at its previous building, 2500 Division Highway, Ephrata, some 21/2 miles away.

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