Dwight Cope first became involved in the distribution of plastics as an employee of Plastics Parts and Sales of St. Louis in 1946. Because of the diligence of Dwight and Mozelle Cope (the founders of our company) Cope Plastics showed signs of significant growth in its early years. At first the company was mainly dependent upon the hobby field and industrial art departments of high schools and colleges.
In the late 1940's and early 1950's, the use of plastics in industry experienced a gradual increase. As a result, the company devoted considerable effort to the distribution of plastics to industry. This involved the distribution of flat sheets, rods, tubes, etc.
Industrial firms began requesting parts that were cut-to-size with finished edges, drilled holes and considerable machining to make a finished part to fit their needs - thus fabrication of a finished component for an industrial firm was spawned! As the need for the fabricated parts increased, the company focused not only on the distribution of semi-finished materials but also on the fabrication of finished parts.
The need for a separate fabrication facility led to the opening of a fabrication division in Godfrey, IL in 1958. A handful of dedicated plastic fabricators brought about the further development of the Godfrey branch. Godfrey's original function was to furnish the fabricated and semi-finished parts to customers in St. Louis and the surrounding area.
The next major change (in 1959) was the addition of outside salespeople. At the same time branch locations were added throughout the Midwest.
Our first sales branch opened in Rock Island, Illinois in 1960. Since that time many more sales branches have opened. Here is a complete list of branch openings (including year):
1964 Oklahoma City, OK
In 1972 corporate headquarters moved from Godfrey, IL into its current location at 4441 Industrial Drive in Alton, IL. Its central location and available land made it ideal for expansion to a larger 130,000 square foot building for central fabricating and warehousing. Little Rock, Peoria and Cedar Rapids also expanded to become satellite fabrication plants.
Even though the company survived the slowdown created by the energy crunch of the late 70's and early 80's, it was necessary to re-evaluate our position in the market. As a result, the company began its shift from a 90% distribution and 10% fabrication mix to our current 55% distribution and 45% fabrication.
An integrated Wide Area Network and ERP/MRP systems at corporate headquarters in Alton links all branch locations. Central purchasing of inventory is done from the Alton location which also serves as the central warehouse facility. The Cope fleet of trucks transport materials to all branches from the Alton warehouse.
Changes continued at Cope Plastics, Inc. and in 2004 the ownership interests of the company were consolidated, making Cope Plastics one of the largest privately-held, woman-owned businesses in the St. Louis area.
Leading plastics manufacturers recognize Cope Plastics, Inc. as their authorized distributor in the Midwest. This includes such prominent firms as Quadrant, Roechling, Cast Nylons, Bayer MaterialScience, Arkema, Plaskolite, 3A Composites, Saint Gobain and many other manufacturers of various plastic materials.
In turn Cope has become the valued supplier of choice to over 7,000 companies looking for plastics solutions - including Original Equipment Manufacturers involved in heavy equipment, agriculture, food service, oil & gas, aerospace, medical, transportation, retail, graphics and MANY others.
Cope Plastics realizes its greatest asset is the dedicated and loyal employees that operate each of our locations. Without these valued people, the company could not have experienced such impressive growth.
Cope Plastics will continue to grow in a highly competitive market by focusing on customer service, quality and innovation in our core businesses of fabrication and distribution.
We are Cope Plastics - Continuously Offering People Excellence!