Forenta recently celebrated 62 years of manufacturing pressing equipment in Morristown by hosting a breakfast for its employees and for members of the local Chamber of Commerce. In attendance were former Forenta Presidents Lee White and Jerry Rose, Industrial Board Chairman, Jack Fishman, local business leaders, and city council members. Ruth Laico, Forenta Sales Coordinator, was recognized as the longest tenured employee at 48 years…..and counting!
During the celebration, Rusty Smith, current President and Partner, shared the history of the relationship between Forenta and its predecessor, the Forse Corporation. Forenta has existed since 1961, the year the company was formed and started manufacturing pressing equipment for Forse (who actually started making equipment in the late 1920’s in Anderson Indiana). Throughout the 1960’s, Forenta existed simply as a manufacturing contractor for Forse, shipping the product out with the Forse nameplate and serial plate. During the early 1970’s, the Forse Corporation went out of business due to the onset of polyester clothing and leisure suits. Since Forenta had many skilled manufacturing and technical employees, it survived the dry-cleaning downturn by manufacturing other products in its 88,000 square foot manufacturing facility.
After obtaining the intellectual property rights and customer lists from Forse, Forenta continued to manufacture a small amount of pressing equipment through the mid-1970’s. The only difference was that the Forenta logo and serial plate were now placed on the equipment. Fortunately, the dry-cleaning industry bounced back and Forenta was on the map as a legitimate producer AND seller of pressing equipment. The company went right to work upgrading the design of existing equipment and adding new equipment to its product line, including spotting boards, puff irons with steel bucks, a simplified form finisher, and scissor dry-cleaning presses. In the coming years, Forenta even designed, and now manufactures, a line of water chillers and garment conveyors that are geared towards, but not exclusive to, the dry-cleaning industry.
During the celebration, Smith recognized the incredibly talented employees at Forenta, noting that the skill level required in a low-volume, high-variety equipment manufacturing environment is much different than the skill level required in a mass production environment. The employees from every department – Sales, Customer Service, Engineering, Accounting, Human Resources, Materials Management, Assembly, Welding, Metal Fabrication and Maintenance - wear many hats. There are multiple models to keep track of and multiple manufacturing processes to maintain. Not an easy task, but the Forenta employees make it look easy.
The celebration ended with plant tours for those who were interested in seeing the mystery of how pressing equipment is manufactured. This was quite a treat for the visitors who had no clue what went on behind the walls of the company who holds the distinction of being the longest continual running, non-food processing, manufacturer in the city of Morristown. 62 years and counting - congratulations, Forenta!