Nabbing a five-year contract with huge aviation parts company Spirit Aerosystems was a big deal for Western Associates. Beginning in April, the Marion company holds the exclusive rights to provide promotional materials for Spirit worldwide.
Spirit Aerosystems has 11,000 employees in Wichita and has other manufacturing locations in North Carolina and Tulsa, Okla.
CEO Dave Crofoot and President Jim Crofoot, owners of Western Associates, said their company has displayed its wares at trade shows in Tulsa and Wichita to promote its products. These range from 50-cent ink pens to $200 leather jackets, all with the Spirit Aerosystems logo and name.
Jim said the company was busy after a tornado swept through Spirit facilities last spring. Spirit was eager to reward certain groups and company employees for their hard work in getting things back up and running again in a timely manner, so WA got a lot of orders.
Spirit has an online store featuring its own line of AeroGear. On Jan. 2, the company will open a Spirit store inside of its administration building. The store will carry the same line of products, all produced through Western Associates.
The brothers said Western Associates was attractive to Spirit because, together with its sister company, Western Graphics, it has all the infrastructure and facilities to provide products. Products are designed at WA and screened and embroidered at WG. They said the company has 56 years of experience to provide companies with a bevy of promotional items.
“Due to our size, we are able to get quick service from factories in the U.S.,” Dave said. “We do a large volume of business and have a longstanding reputation in the industry.”
WA employs 40 people in its two facilities in Marion. Dave said WA has more than 75 sales representatives around the country, with offices in Tulsa, Wichita, Topeka, and North Carolina. They hold teleconferences regularly with their sales reps.
WA has been providing promotional materials for a new casino in Mulvane since it opened a year ago. More recently, it provided T-shirts for the casino’s reopening on Dec. 12 after a brief makeover. WA provides giveaways at sports stadiums and provides items for trade shows.
“Our customer service has allowed us to expand to larger markets,” Dave said.
“We help customers spend their money wisely.”
Because WA services a wide variety of customers, its future looks bright.
“We’re lucky,” Dave said. “We’re diversified. When one industry goes down, another takes its place.”