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 Business > Manufacturing

1940 Lunt Avenue | Elk Grove Village, IL 60007 | www.customplasticsinc.com

It’s the early 1950s. Cosmo Nicholas Tisbo is a successful tool and die maker for a company called Superior in Chicago. He and his young family, with one child about three years old and another on the way, are doing well.

For Tisbo, however, he wants more. He wants to personally influence his own destiny. He is not satisfied with making a component of something; he wants to make it all. He ultimately leaves Superior, partners up with a family friend, and rents a store space where they purchase and place their first extruder. Superior allows Tisbo to make his tools in their shop, as now he is selling the capability of offering an extruded profile. He starts generating more business, which requires additional machines and people. His journey takes him from Chicago to Melrose Park, and then to Bensenville. He becomes one of the largest producers of the Wham-O “Hula Hoop” in the United States.

1955: Custom Plastics is Born

1955 – Founded - A young tool and die maker purchases his first extruder. Business quickly expands and more machines are acquired.

1965 – Current Location - Continued success prompts the final move to our current location in Elk Grove Village.

1975 – Expansion - Injection molding machines are added, now allowing multiple processes in one company.

1984 – Proprietary - A proprietary division is created, servicing the lawn & garden consumer products market. Custom Utility is created, servicing the electrical components industry. Material manufacturing capability is established (PVC).

1994 – New Markets - Custom Accents® is created to address the office organization market.

1989 – Expansion - The third and final building is purchased and connected in Elk Grove Village.

2002 – ISO Certification - Custom Plastics, Inc. had grown consistently in sales and reputation, and the company is now ISO Certified, further solidifying its stance on quality. This includes Advanced Product Quality Planning, an automotive requirement.

2005 – Continued Success - A third internal proprietary line is added, HandiSOLUTIONS®, offering garage and home organization. Over sixty years and millions of pounds of plastic has been produced and sold worldwide, continuing our success. Cellular PVC is added to the company’s material manufacturing capability.

2007 – Tech Advances - A refrigeration line with stock & made to order offerings is added. The engineering system is converted to SolidWorks software. Gas-assist molding capability is added. Pad printing process is added. FDM model prototyping capability is added.

2017 – Continued Growth - New machines are added, including two wire EDM machines, a 2.5 single screw extruder, four molding machines and more, to replace old equipment and increase capabilities.

Continued success eventually prompts the final move circa 1965 to the company’s current location in Elk Grove Village.

Subsequently, Tisbo got his big break when he partners with an electronics expert who is interested in developing a line of raceway duct and cover to house machine wiring. Together, they plan out the profiles; Custom will be the manufacturer. Before long, they develop a material that they want to use in these products, and establish the material manufacturing capability within the Elk Grove facility. It is in the early 1970s. Because of Tisbo’s influence, his partner’s company takes off, and makes its presence known throughout the world. Today, this company represents a half billion dollars in sales worldwide and has been the industry leader for decades. This company is Panduit Corporation.


As more manufacturers join the industry, the opportunity for injection molding comes to fruition. Around this same time, molding machines are added into the single building that houses the extruders. The company now performs multiple processes, a unique offering then as it is today. Even blow molding becomes part of the company offerings for a short time. Tisbo decides to expand within the existing building, then purchases the building next door and ties them together. A third building is added and connected to the other two, making up the company’s current operational landscape.

Tisbo does not just pursue OEM business; proprietary lines are added. Lawn and Garden is the first, which ultimately becomes Suncast® Corporation as it diversifies and relocates out of Custom to Batavia in 1985. Within ten years, two additional lines are added, Custom Utility and Custom Accents®.

Upon Tisbo’s passing in 1999, Custom Plastics had grown consistently in sales and reputation. He even had the foresight to begin the pursuit of the ISO 9001 quality certification for the company, which was eventually achieved in 2002. His son, Peter Tisbo, involved in the business since 1982, became President in the late 90s and runs the company today. A third proprietary line HandiSOLUTIONS® was added in this decade, featuring PVC slatwall for the garage and home storage industry, showing continued efforts toward making Custom Plastics unique and financially stable for the future. Like father, like son.