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 Business > Manufacturing

716 Cedar Street | Rockford, IL 61102 | www.kjfinishing.com

As one of the nation’s largest platers of hexavalent-free black chromate, K & J Finishing is used to being on the leading edge of complex finishing processes. This makes them a perfect fit for their newer role as Rockford’s sole manufacturer of increasingly sought out hydrographics products.

“We use a water-based ink to adhere to anything you can put into water, giving it a clear-coat overtop that seals and protects and is as durable as your automotive finish,” explains owner Keith Beach of the custom immersion application popular in today’s personalization trends. “We’ve got an unlimited number of patterns in-house for use on plastics, woods, metals, you name it; we’ve actually done beer bottles.”

Customer requests, from individual one-off to high-volume needs, range from hunting equipment and paraphernalia like guns, bows and skulls to vehicle products, including on motorcycles and snow mobiles, and commercial items such as fan blades, light switches and plates, door handles, phones, mugs, and stereo covers. K & J recently produced 35,000 pairs of pliers, made to look like fabric, for Klein Tools in Lincolnshire.

Formerly known as Northern ­Illinois Metal Finishing, K & J’s roots date back to the early ’60s when it was a standard plating plant at the same location. In 2009, the owners approached Beach, their general manager of 15 years and a plater since high school, about taking over. “They came to me and pretty much said, ‘If you ever wanted to own a plating company now’s your chance,’ ” he recalls. “Of course, I’d worn all the different hats and was a sales person, too. A lot of the customers knew me and knew my reputation.” Today, Beach’s son, Kristopher, a seven-year veteran at the 20-employee firm, serves as operations manager. Local big-name clients include North American Fabrication Co., Seward Screw Products, Rockford Toolcraft and Rockford Process Control. Beach, an avid bow hunter since 12 with a 120-acre private property dedicated to wildlife and farming, doubles as a taxidermist at his Freeport establishment, Beach’s Taxidermy.