A Seneca County business has found success decorating items ranging from rifles to animal skulls.
Tarjac Inc.'s work has been featured on television, on the big screen and at sporting events.
A blast-resistant helmet decorated by Tarjac was worn by a soldier in the Academy Award-winning film "The Hurt Locker," and a fat-burning machine bearing Tarjac's work was seen recently on the Bravo channel's "The Real Housewives of Atlanta."
The company also worked with Orange County Choppers on a customized motorcycle and provided a digital camouflage design for uniforms worn at the most recent Army-Navy college football game. Orange County Choppers is a custom and production motorcycle manufacturer in Orange County, N.Y., that has its own cable television show.
Tarjac is a custom finishing operation that has been decorating plastic, metal and other hard goods since 1989.
Roughly 70 employees work at its nearly 40,000-square-foot facility in Waterloo, and it serves manufacturers of outdoor goods, automotive products, business equipment and medical devices. Tarjac began as a small custom camouflage-painting operation serving the hunting industry.
The firm's customers range from individuals to large original equipment manufacturers, and orders can range from one to thousands of parts. That makes it one of the largest water transfer printers and firearms decorators in North America.
Tarjac's processes apply color, patterns and text to otherwise ordinary consumer products. The ink is placed between a base and clear coat, similar to a finish on a car.
President Larry Salerno said the company's immediate goals are to "keep providing the quality and service that got us to this point and keep growing."
Salerno and his wife, Cindy, originally owned a lawn and garden business. That changed when Larry, an avid bow hunter, received a gift from a bow company and decided to improve on the bow's camouflage pattern using an airbrushing process.
Soon the bow company's owner began placing orders for Salerno's improved designs.
Martin Crosley, Tarjac director of sales, said the company's quality and range of services sets it apart from competitors.
He declined to disclose sales for the privately held firm but said Tarjac's sales grew 9 percent in 2010. He projects sales growth of perhaps 15 percent in 2011.
Tarjac customers among firearms manufacturers are largely in "Gun Valley," from New York to Maine, Crosley said.
Success in its core market has led to diversification and a chance to pursue new markets, such as medical device, marine, automotive and aerospace. The firm also has expanded its customer base by developing new capabilities.
Its NuSkin direct-to-consumers line caters to individuals looking for a decorative coating on their possessions. Popular items Tarjac has decorated for individual customers include rifles, bows and animals skulls-from deer and coyotes to alligators-that the owners have hunted.
One customer requested a camouflage design on a wedding band.
"We've found if it doesn't move, it can be decorated," Crosley said.
And there are many designs. Tarjac, for example, offers more than 300 camouflage patterns.
The consumer service, which Tarjac began a couple of years ago, is a growth area. Sales make up roughly 15 percent of total revenue, but Crosley expects that to double to 30 percent within the next year.
Orders have come in from customers across the country, and typically it takes two weeks for Tarjac to finish an item and return it to the customer.
Prices vary for the service, depending on which object or part a person wants decorated. A finish on a complete gun, for example, retails for $175, while a complete bow finish costs $140.
The NuSkin line was created to increase business during Tarjac's typically slow season around the winter holidays, when work for its larger manufacturing customers has been shipped.
An attraction for individuals is being able to have the same decorative pattern used by a large manufacturer, Crosley said. For example, a gun owner could have a design put on his rifle by the same business that does the work, although on a bigger scale, for Remington Arms Co. Inc., America's oldest gun-making company.
Additional firearms customers include Massachusetts-based Savage Arms Inc., for which Tarjac provides the decorative finish on the Predator rifle line, and Keystone Sporting Arms LLC of Pennsylvania.
Ron Rarig, purchasing manager at Keystone Sporting Arms, said the firm looks for high-quality products from its suppliers.
"Tarjac provides us with both outstanding quality and service and has always been responsive to the demands of a volatile manufacturing environment," Rarig said.
Another Tarjac line, Xcessoryde, is aimed at individuals needing customized decoration of objects such as automotive parts, wine glasses, welding helmets and frames.
The company has an isolated downdraft booth, closed off from the rest of the shop to keep dust and other materials from falling onto the part being decorated, that provides a higher-quality finish. Tarjac also recently added silk-screening capabilities, giving customers more options in the design and placement of logos and text.
Crosley said the firm would continue to add to its capabilities and pursue new markets.
"Our niche has historically been sporting goods and automotive, but we do a lot in between," he said.
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