By Robert Barron, Staff Writer
Enid News & Eagle
ENID, Okla. —
One of Enid’s long-established companies has grown into an internationally based business, but still does its manufacturing here.
Amy Parrish, of Parrish Manufacturing Group, talked about the company started by her grandfather in 1951 during Monday’s Enid Rotary Club meeting.
R.C. Parrish was the son of tenant farmers. He worked for George E. Failing Co., then opened his own business, Central Machine and Tool, in a chicken coop in 1951.
He soon bought out his partners and moved Central Machine and Tool to a small tin shed at 10th and Willow. The company outgrew the toolshed and moved to an area currently occupied by PT Coupling. In 1965, Parrish purchased land on East Willow to build a sand cast foundry and for potential expansion. The foundry was built in 1969, according to a company history.
Over the years, other companies were acquired as part of the Parrish Enterprises. Jerico Distributors was established in 1982, and Oklahoma Investment Casing Corp. was started in Blackwell in 1984. Operations of most of the companies acquired were moved to Enid for purposes of quality control, Amy Parrish said.
Punch-Lok, of Chicago, was purchased, and operations of ProGrip Coupling Co., of Gardenia, Calif., were moved to Enid in 2005.
Parrish Manufacturing today makes quick connect/disconnect couplings and replacement parts. Among the brands the company manufacture are PT Coupling, Punch-Lok, ProGrip, Safety Bump, Maxi-Dry and Sta-Lok II.
Over the years, Parrish has expanded its offerings through the acquisition of other companies, which have been moved to Enid. Amy Parrish said the company is known for quality manufacturing, and that quality is one of the things company officials sell. Through their companies, they also design and market their products.
“We also maintain a relationship with our customers and have had some of them more than 30 years,” Amy Parrish said.
The company is producing about 75 percent more products based on international and domestic sales, she said.
The company is expanding its manufacturing operation, and Parrish said officials hope by the end of summer that project will be completed. The company will add another 10 employees when the new plant is finished. Currently, Parrish Manufacturing employs about 400 people. Employees go through on-the-job training sessions for about three months.
“At the end, if they are a good fit and we are a good fit for them, they’re hired,” Parrish said.
Training is different for each area of the plant: manufacturing, warehouse and sales departments. Parrish said the company maintains good relations with employees.
The new foundry is an expensive operation. Parrish Manufacturing received a $1.5 million state grant, which the company matched and added to, she said.
“We make a high-quality product. Our products are totally U.S. made, and we have the highest pressure ratings in the business,” she said.
The company has been in Enid since the beginning and has gone through two down economies without laying off any employees, she said, although during the recession in 2009, it did shorten working days briefly.
The primary competition is from China, but Parrish Manufacturing also purchases some products from China to give customers a less costly option. She said the company is kept busy by the burgeoning oil industry.
In a company video, James Parrish, son of R.C. Parrish and former company president, said Parrish Manufacturing maintains a small company feel to help it remain flexible. Amy Parrish said the company responds to information from its dealers and customers.
Parrish said company competitors are all much larger, plus many use imported Chinese products they claim are U.S. made. The Parrish market share is good, she said. The biggest problem is not making products fast enough, she said, which is one reason for expanding its plant.
Internationally, the company has distribution warehouses in New Zealand, Costa Rica and Mexico, and two in Canada. It also has a relationship with Vlados-PT in Brazil, and 14 warehouses in the United States.