Stan Maddux, Times of Northwest Indiana Correspondent
LaPORTE — Sterno Products LLC, the long-established maker of canned heat, has acquired sevenOKs, of LaPorte, a manufacturing company whose insulated food delivery bags have been used in well-known sports venues including Wrigley Field in Chicago and Fenway Park in Boston.
The purchase of the LaPorte firm at 3539 Monroe St. was completed Wednesday, said Tom Dermody, president of sevenOKs, which employs 47. The sale price was not disclosed.
He’s optimistic about the workforce growing with Sterno being well-established in canned heat and other food service products.
‘’LaPorte will now be a nationwide leader in this industry, which means good jobs for years to come,’’ said Dermody, a former Indiana Republican state representative who served 10 years.
Formerly known as TCB Manufacturing, the company Dermody has owned since 2010 produced anywhere from 300 to 500 coolers daily as well as carrying bags for keeping food and beverages hot and cold.
All of the company's products were designed and made in-house from raw materials including vinyl and leather, which is cut and sewn by hand and machine.
sevenOks' name was derived from the seven-point process products had to pass before shipping. In addition to sports stadiums, the pizza chain Papa Johns and school corporations in California are also among the company's customers.
Dermody said Sterno is a former customer. He said discussions from that relationship eventually advanced to interest in acquiring the firm.
‘’It just made sense,’’ Dermody said of the purchase.
The company's product lines will be sold as part of Sterno's insulated food and beverage carrier lines that are typically used in the hospitality and retail markets.
Sterno has made canned heat used primarily in the food service industry for buffet heating and in the home for fondue. It is also used as a chafing fuel for heating chafing dishes for more than a century. It's signature product is made from denatured and jellied alcohol and burned from the can.
Sterno representatives were at sevenOKs plant Thursday, but deferred questions to its parent company, Compass Diversified Holdings, which did not respond to requests for comment.