Velko Hinge began in 1969 as Velko Tool & Die Company. A family business, Velko is now operated by president Alina Jansen, the daughter of its original founder. Here, Jansen provides an overview of the longstanding, local company with a global reach.
Tell us a little about your business… (background/how long you have been in business, etc.)
Our company was founded by Jerry Vellekoop (my father), as a tool and die maker. Velko began to manufacture hinges in 1976. Five years later, we relocated to Munster, from Lansing, Illinois. Today, we make custom continuous hinges right here at this location, and distribute our products all over the world.
What sets your business apart?
We are one of the few places that manufactures these particular products here in the USA. Throughout our history, we’ve been family owned and operated – and we continue to thrive after 40 years in business.
Small businesses present challenges. What are some challenges you have faced?
Changes in the economy over the years are always key challenges. From a large customer having a workforce go on strike, to the recession in 2008-2009, we’ve run into plenty of obstacles. We had to really reinvent the company to survive in a new business climate, and we’ve thankfully been able to do so. We became more lean, and found ways to do more with less – and we did a lot to modernize our production model as a whole.
Why did you decide to do business with Horizon Bank?
Years ago, the company did business with a local bank. When I became president, I wanted to get back to that, and work with a local, small town bank so we can receive more personal service. I knew one of the officers at Horizon from many years back, and it felt like the right fit.