business matters
Mathew Farnworth, vice president at Heskins, stands at the company's East Butler location.

Heskins enjoys hearing creative uses

No one wants their cat to fall out of the kayak. Right?

“A lady called about a month ago. She takes her cat everywhere, and she was worried it would slip out of her kayak. So she bought nonslip tape and put it on her kayak,” said Taryn Zeigler of Heskins LLC.

Zeigler said the best part of her job is hearing the unique ways people use Heskins' products.

Heskins manufactures and supplies a variety of tapes, including self-adhesive nonslip, abrasive and nonabrasive, conformable, reflective and glow in the dark.

The company's headquarters and main production facility is still in England, where founder Larry Longton began the worldwide production and distribution company from his father's farmhouse in 1997.

But “millions and millions of feet” of tape each quarter pass through the Butler County branch site which has been in operation since 1997, said Mathew Farnworth, company vice president.

The tape arrives locally on master rolls that can be 300-plus feet long and up to 53-inches wide.

A seven-person crew converts the master rolls to customer specifications, offering a wide range of widths, lengths, shapes, colors and grades.With worldwide distribution, Farnworth admits that some people have asked him how a UK-based company found an East Butler home.

“We were shipping a lot of material to the Pennsylvania-Maryland area when, by chance, a friend of the owner was moving to Butler to marry a lady from Butler,” Farnworth said.

“We initially opened here as just dry warehousing with the intentions of growing with an e-commerce site. We (later) decided we didn't want to compete with our customers.”

Although a customer could walk in to Heskins' Grant Avenue location and buy a single roll of tape if they needed it, Farnworth said the company prefers to do direct sales to its distributing customers.

Zeigler stressed that Heskins is ISO certified, meaning it complies with international quality and consistency standards.

“While a lot of companies certify in-house, we use independent laboratories to ensure our products meet those regulatory standards,” Zeigler said.Typical end users are looking for applications like adding a nonslip surface to a floor or a reflective tape for trucks, trailers or construction machinery.

But that is not to say the company has not encountered some fun use applications, like the cat and the kayak. There are two brothers in the UK who wrapped Christmas gifts in extra coarse tape as a fun-loving prank. And, there was an artist who used the tape to create art.

“And there was a lady called a month or two ago. She put down extra coarse tape so that when her pigs walked on it, it would file their toenails and she wouldn't have to do it,” Zeigler said. I love hearing about these unique applications.”