Home-grown Jiffy-tite $1M expansion nearly done

January 28, 2014 Updated Jan 28, 2014 at 1:55 PM EDT

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January 28, 2014 Updated Jan 28, 2014 at 1:55 PM EDT

CLARENCE, NY (WKBW-TV) - With the auto industry performing well so, too, is business at Jiffy-tite Co., which produces connectors with a locking sleeve that prevents them from coming apart.

The Clarence company's products are used in passenger cars and trucks for the world's most popular auto manufacturers. Jiffy-tite makes connectors that are at the ends of oil lines, radiator, transmissions and turbo chargers.

The company is completing a $1 million, 5,000-square-foot expansion that will include additional parking and manufacturing space. Jiffy-tite owner Steve Zillig said that thanks to the auto industry boom in recent years, they manufacture more than 200,000 parts a day, up from 145,000 three years ago.

To help with the growth, Zillig plans to hire another 30 workers this year, most of whom he said will be non-production positions.

"We expanded our plant a little while ago, and we have enough manufacturing space here, plus at our Batavia location," Zillig said. "We need to get some offices going here, as we're bringing in interns, engineers, product designers and manufacturing people so that we can better design and develop products to meet new business needs."

Zillig said the company ships to six continents, wherever car radiators may be manufactured then later added to engines. He said that vehicles being designed today are those that will be in showrooms in a few years. Likewise, it typically added can take that long to close a sale with a client.

"Ever since the recession, we went into overdrive mode with our selling, and a lot of that stuff takes awhile," he said. "In the car business, the sales cycle is quite long. You just can't say to a manufacturer, 'Put this on the car.' It takes a while."

Jiffy-tite makes plumbing parts so that replacing an oil line, as an example, one only needs to slide a locking sleeve so that the line comes right off. A new one can be snapped into place.

The company began in the basement of Zillig's parent's Clarence home. In 2011, he described his father as someone who did a bit of everything.

"He sold eggs, he was in real estate, a machinist, and as a salesman selling industrial supplies for people buying hoses and clamps. He got the idea for a quick-connect coupler and made a few parts," he said.

At a trade show, the product caught the eye of a major distributor and the company took off.

Over the last few years, Jiffy-tite's products have evolved.

"There've been a lot of little improvements that you wouldn't even see by looking at them," Zillig said. "They look simple and inconsequential, but the finishes we could do here and there or the little things we could do to our tooling and materials make them connect easier."

The company expects sales of $56 million in 2014.

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