Hunter Coe and the sales team at Coe Press Equipment Corp. in Sterling Heights are bringing a new message to the marketplace. For years, the 40-year-old company, which designs and distributes large, coil-feeding equipment to the metal stamping industry, largely sold its product line based on price. “Our sales team, which includes a new sales manager and new salespeople, are now selling our products based on value, quality, and service versus price,” says Coe, strategic sales manager at Coe Press Equipment.
As a result, he says, revenue increased 15 percent last year, and added expansion is forecast for this year. “We’re focused on growth and looking to get into new markets, like the boating industry, while expanding from our client base,” he says. Roughly 40 percent of the company’s output is sold to the automotive industry (metal stampers and tool and die shops), while the rest is distributed to parts and components suppliers from industries dealing with large agricultural machines, snow blowers, lawn and garden tractors, lawn mowers, appliances, and electrical components.
Founded in Rochester by Coe’s father, John Coe, the enterprise initially focused on rebuilding used equipment — until a customer asked him to design and build metal stamping and cutting machines. “My dad started the business with $500,” Coe says. “He wanted to be a dealer, but a customer really insisted he build the equipment. He lost money on the first machine, but figured it out and we eventually expanded and moved to Sterling Heights, where we have 65,000 square feet of space among four different buildings in one complex.”
Coe worked for a local automotive dealership before joining the company in 2008, where he started “in assembly, doing welding, and building equipment,” followed by service, line installation, and sales. A family business, his father is president and CEO, while his brother and twin sisters are also active in the firm. “I’m out there being the face of the company and looking for sales growth,” Coe says. “It’s all about getting into new markets and expanding our product lines.” — R.J. King