Talon News - Good Local News

By Jacque Ritchie


More than "Paco Pads"


April 20, 2018

Levi Murch, Perri Schoser, Rod Baade, James Evangelisti, Gus Stelmaszek, Dustin Thomas, TJ Garcia, Evan Jordan, Josh Kudrna - PHoto-J.Ritchie-TALON

Established in 1988 by former Grand Canyon river raft guide Jack Kloepher, Jack's Plastic Welding is located at 115 S. Main, Aztec. Jack's builds custom industrial and recreational inflatable watercraft and all the necessary trimmings including dry-bags, starting at $40 which are essential to keep clothes, sleeping bags and other gear dry during your rafting adventure or any outdoor activity. "It sure beats the hell out of a trash bag," Rod Baade reported as he worked on constructing a large red and blue colored dry-bag. Baade gave TALON a tour of the operation. Jack's occupies two adjoining store fronts and employs 10, not including Errol Baade, sales and production chief and Jack, president. On the afternoon the TALON stopped by, activity was hectic in the shop with people working on different stages of production and packaging, "You caught us right in middle of big Paco Pad drop," said Production Manager Perri Schoser.

Multi-colored Paco pads, described as "Really burly sleeping-bag pads," (only $190) are stacked six feet tall, metal shelves loaded with roles of multicolored plastic line the walls as the hum of machinery fills the space. Baade explained "Before we were here, they were in a chicken coup up in La Posta." Baade has worked at Jack's on Main since 1990. According to Baade, Jack's customer base consists mainly of outfitter's and white-water-guide services from all over the Four Corners area and as far away as Montana. Recently Jack's has branched out and has done some projects for NASA, "We build things that float but that's all we can really say about that." Other projects include inflatable units that provide "restoration help" for endangered ocean coral reef beds. "Most people around here probably don't even know what we do," Business is good, but Baane said the down-side is, the crew will probably have to forego some precious days on the river this season,"Yeah that kinda sucks...Hey, who knows? Maybe we'll get a big bonus out of it." Baade also said the company may be on the verge of outgrowing their current location, "Bloomfield and Farmington want us, but we want to stay here...most of us are locals...we've always been here, Aztec has been good to us."

According to craftsman Dustin Thomas, 32, "It's really awesome to work here, you get to work on something different every day like the Aerospace stuff, or we make hospital beds for dogs, you never know what we got going on...it's just cool like that."

Jack's Plastic Welding is a vibrant example of small business initiative in Aztec that the community and the city can both embrace. Jack's wants to continue to "Change the World One Lifestyle at a Time."

The New Mexico Small Business Assistance program (NMSBA) has recognized Aztec's own Jack's Plastic Welding as a small business success story. The company will receive a certificate and an award (a gold plated carabiner would be nice) at the Eureka Effect Event which will be held at the UNM Lobo Rainforest Building, 101 Broadway NE in Albuquerque on April 19. Los Alamos National Laboratory, Sandia National Laboratories in partnership with the state launched the NMSBA in 2000 as a small business tax credit based program geared toward assisting small business get started. ###


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