Success Stories

All Flex

Northfield, Minnesota

Win, win and win

Tonka Bay helps this local company position itself for expansion while keeping current employees on the job.

It's an all-too-often-used cliché, but the 2007 sale of All Flex truly was a win-win-win scenario for everyone involved: the former owner, the new owners, the employees, the management and the community.

Former owner and president Anne Lundstrom, a long-time Northfield resident and entrepreneur, sold All Flex to Tonka Bay and two of her former top managers. The company specializes in manufacturing flexible circuits for industries such as medicine and military.

According to Lundstrom, the customary anxiety that employees and a small community often feel when an employer of this magnitude is sold did not accompany this particular sale.

Lundstrom, who grew the company from its start in her townhouse's attic to an employer of some 90 people, knew she wanted to hand her business to someone who could continue to grow and take care of it, in addition to it being someone who would hold onto the current management and leave the business in Northfield. That was a tall order, indeed — one that not every caring business owner who wants to sell can find.

But Lundstrom did find a Minnesota-based buyer who wanted to do all of this. Tonka Bay partnered with the company's top two managers to purchase All Flex. Both the new president, Greg Closser, and the new vice president of operations, Kai Warnock, were kept on and made officers in the company. And the company planned no layoffs, no mergers with any other companies, and no moves to exotic locales in other countries.

So what does this mean?

It means that a local entrepreneur was justly rewarded for working hard and investing 15 years in a company that is a good corporate citizen. It means that the managers who helped grow the company were made part of its exciting future, and that the people who work at All Flex got to keep their jobs. It gave Tonka Bay the opportunity to invest in a well-positioned niche company that is poised for continued growth.

And finally, Northfield gets to retain a large manufacturing employer, keeping the payroll, the jobs and the tax base intact. And it didn't cost local residents one dime in local government incentives.

That's a win-win-win scenario in the truest sense.

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