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For Presto Lifts, orange is the key color.
Eileen Schmidt
Eileen Schmidt

The bright shade has helped the company's equipment stand out throughout its history - a mark, company leaders say, of the firm's commitment to excellence in the design and manufacture of its pieces. “Any customer that is producing something, storing something, packaging, shipping; for any of those elements our lifts can be utlitized to improve safety and productivity,” said Rick DaSilva, national sales manager for Presto Lifts.

The company, which this year marks its 70th anniversary in business, began operating as Presto Lifts in 1977 with the production of manually-propelled lifts and stackers. Today, Presto Lifts offers more than 500 different models of lifts, tables and tilters.

Headquartered in Norton, Mass., Presto Lifts also has a facility in northeast Arkansas and a total of around 100 people affiliated with the company's production and business efforts. Presto Lifts provides products to locations across North America, according to Steve Albert, the company's general manager.

“One of the things Presto does and does well is the stacker line. It really separates us,” he said, adding that in the late 1980s the company started to transition into lift tables. Currently, the two lines bring in about an equal amount of business, Albert said.

About 10 years ago, Presto Lifts leaders put great emphasis on improving and increasing the stacker line. Several new products were introduced, including a product that took the company to the next level. The PowerStak™ – a powered lift-powered drive stacker – has proven a tremendous part of Presto Lifts' recent growth, company leaders said. “That product has been used by a wide range of industries,” Albert said. “It's great for small mom-and-pop businesses and also large firms.”

Starting with a price tag of $6,000, the lightweight power stack is useful for big production facilities and also provides an option for small companies that cannot afford a forklift. Sales have been growing steadily for the past seven years, according to Albert.

"We see ourselves expanding that line," he said, noting that the work force is aging and companies are looking for ways to for current employees to do continue doing their jobs without having to hire additional help. "A fully-powered product is being preferred by more and more customers," Albert said. "That is a very nice fit for where we're going." Other key products for the business include the pallet positioner and the light duty battery-operated lift tables.

In recent years, the impact of the recession was felt most acutely in 2009, but the company has been rebounding since 2010, according to Albert.

Many businesses reduced staff during the economic downturn and are continuing to operate with smaller work forces. For Presto Lifts, that has meant an opportunity for its products to help fill in the production gaps. 2014 proved a year of record sales. Presto Lifts also has honed a competitive edge in the industry by creating a stocking program that ensures its most popular products are always in stock and can ship in one week or less. Albert said the "Always In Stock" program includes the creation of an assembly system where lifts can be produced in record time, allowing them to be customized for client needs. "It's a real competitive advantage," Albert said.

Presto Lifts plays an active role in the industry, both in association memberships and trade show participation. For more information about the company, visit prestolifts.com/

Eileen Schmidt is a freelance writer and journalist based in the Greater Milwaukee area. She has written for print and online publications for the past 12 years. Email editorial@mhwmag.com or visit eileenmozinskischmidt.wordpress.com to contact Eileen. 
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