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Rochester Top 100: Brighton firm moves to bolster its growth

Rochester Business Journal
July 25, 2014

After shedding its palletizer manufacturing business this year, Aloi Solutions LLC is focusing on automation and integration to grow.

The Brighton firm, which does business as Aloi Materials Handling, has increased revenues by an average of 18 percent annually over the last three years and increased its workforce by nine this year.

“We’ve added head count to the organization, so that has an impact on the revenue stream,” said Jeffrey Gambrill, co-owner and president. “We’ve landed some very large capital projects that have been in the works.”

Aloi, which distributes and installs materials-handling equipment, offers services to as many as 1,000 customers annually, he said.

It has added four people to its sales staff this year and also hired an engineer, a customer service representative and an installation technician.

“We focus on all market segments,” Gambrill said. “We’re very strong in distribution warehouse design; that’s where the company got its start. We landed a couple of large projects in that area, and those projects are typically very sizable. A lot of them are $1 million-plus projects.”

The business was founded in 1977 by the late John Aloi, who designed warehousing and sold pallet racks for storage until his retirement in the 1980s.

Aloi was replaced by an ownership group of three, which eventually shrank to just John Skivington in 1987.

Skivington later found himself in need of a palletizer to automatically stack products on pallets. He called Robert Manion, owner and president of Lambert Material Handling, a palletizer manufacturer in Syracuse, to ask about prices.

“Bob got to know John and found out he was going to sell the business or hire a new VP of sales,” Gambrill said. “I got into the mix, and Bob talked me into it.”

Aloi bought Lambert in 2007. Gambrill and Manion bought the company in 2008, with Gambrill running Aloi and Manion running Lambert independently but sharing resources when possible.

They sold Lambert to Illinois-based packaging manufacturer ARPAC LLC on March 12, and Manion stayed on at Aloi as head of automation and integration.

“Jeff and I made a decision a few years ago to strategically reinvest in the Aloi business because it was the bigger of the two businesses,” Manion said. “Aloi was much larger and growing faster and was more profitable.

“We decided to sell (Lambert) in order to take those capital resources and reinvest them in this business.”

Aloi’s revenues surged 55 percent in 2011—primarily because of organic growth and the acquisition of a North Carolina business, Gambrill said—and 8 percent more in 2012 before dropping 9 percent in 2013.

“Our business is very project-driven,” Manion said of last year’s decline. “We do a lot of small orders, $10,000 to $20,000, but there are times when we may book a $3 million order that heavily influences our growth one year over the other.

“In 2012, we had some monster projects. Last year, we didn’t have the monster projects we had the prior year.

“Also in the last three years, capital spending is way up,” Gambrill said. “Companies are looking to material handling to improve efficiencies. Routine business went up, but the capital spending over the last three years has really taken off.”

Employment has grown from 26 in 2011 to 30 in both 2012 and 2013 before reaching 39 so far this year.

“As we continue to grow the top line and bottom line, we’ll continue to add people where it makes sense,” Manion said. “We’re always looking for talent for our organization, but we also are always looking at acquisitions.”

Aloi’s headquarters is at 660 W. Metro Park, west of Monroe Community College, and it also has offices in Buffalo and Syracuse and in Raleigh and High Point, N.C.

“Our traditional business has grown geographically and into new product segments,” Manion said. “We’ve added a sales presence in Pennsylvania. We’ve continued to increase our presence in North Carolina.

“We’re expanding our geographic footprint into Pennsylvania, the New England area and across more of New York State. Our goal is to encompass the East Coast footprint.”

The biggest challenge for Aloi is geographic, Manion said.

“New York State is not growing its manufacturing base and distribution base,” he said. “A lot of jobs and companies are moving away. That’s one of the reasons we’re trying to move into other states.”

The Rochester Top 100 program is presented by the Rochester Business Alliance Inc. and KPMG LLP. Launched in 1987, it recognizes the fastest-growing private companies in Greater Rochester. This year’s Rochester Top 100 event will be held Nov. 5. For more information, go to rochesterbusinessalliance.com.

Aloi Materials Handling, a dba of Aloi Solutions LLC
Distribution and installation of materials-handling equipment.
Year founded: 1977
Top executive: Jeffrey Gambrill,
co-owner and president
Employees: 39
2013 ranking: 60
Location: Brighton
Website: aloi.com

7/25/14 (c) 2014 Rochester Business Journal. To obtain permission to reprint this article, call 585-546-8303 or email service@rbj.net.



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