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February 08, 2021

How Ricki and Sons balanced family and production with help from CNC

By scribe

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Whether CNC work is your full-time career or a part-time passion, a CNC router or CNC plasma can provide tremendous value by widening your capabilities and increasing your production efficiency.

For Travis and Jackie Goerish of Ricki and Sons in Prior Lake, MN, the addition of a CNC plasma allowed them to create the perfect custom fabrication side business while also prioritizing their family life.

Here’s how this husband and wife duo used CNC technology to improve and grow their family-owned business.

Origins as a nonprofit auto shop

Travis and Jackie’s entry into the metalworking space began in 2012 as a nonprofit venture that specialized in fixing cars for battered women’s shelters. The couple partnered with a friend of Travis’s to start the nonprofit, which served as a great way for them to give back to the community.

The venture was fairly short-lived, however. In 2013, their friend and partner passed away unexpectedly from cancer, which took a big toll on both of them. Eventually, the couple decided it was time to move on to something different. Shortly thereafter, they decided to start their own business.

Balancing family and metalwork

When they set out to start their business, Travis and Jackie knew they wanted something family-oriented they could keep close to home. With two young children to care for, they didn’t want travel or commuting to become an issue.

Travis had been doing metalwork since he was a kid, and with a shop at their house, they felt it was something they could capitalize on. They started out making tables, custom furniture, and other things people could have in their homes and share with their families for many years.

They soon found the local market for custom furniture to be fairly limited, however, and acknowledged the need to produce something they could ship and use the internet to help market and grow.

Testing new waters

After realizing this need, Travis and Jackie began working on some new designs and decided to try having someone else do some cutting for them to test the market and see if they had something worth pursuing.

This resulted in a lot of problems and stress. The turnaround time for orders was 2-4 weeks at a minimum, which often got pushed out even further if there were any issues or errors with drawings or production. Travis and Jackie knew this approach was not feasible in the long term and began researching ways to ramp up their production.

This started with CNC.

Initial CNC research

After conducting initial research, Travis and Jackie knew they wanted to pursue the addition of a CNC plasma – but they had some apprehension as to where to go and who to buy from. It was a big investment for a small company, and they also had concerns about running the software and ensuring they’d have the support they needed to get up and running.

Through his research online, Travis narrowed his list down to four options. After digging deeper into each of these by browsing forums and making phone calls, he found he kept getting directed toward ShopSabre primarily due to customer service and support.

And what he received during the sales process lived up to the hype.

“The guys at ShopSabre took what I told them and basically explained to me what I needed – because I didn’t know,” Travis said. “They explained to me the specs of the machine and what would be best for our operation.”

After the initial call, Travis got invited to ShopSabre’s facilities to meet the team and see the operation.

“To say I was impressed would be minimizing it.”

Travis knew it was time to proceed and placed the order.

Adding CNC plasma to the shop

When the ShopSabre SideKick CNC plasma arrived at the shop, Travis and Jackie installed it and cut their first part that very same day. They’ve now had the CNC plasma for three years, which has allowed them to refine a streamlined workflow between the two of them. Jackie does all the design work and gets the files ready before sending them to Travis in the shop who handles the fabrication and cutting.

This efficient collaborative process was made possible through CNC.

“Our business has just exploded since we bought the ShopSabre,” Jackie said.

The couple now specializes in a wide variety of high-quality custom products, from lake signs and other Minnesota-themed décor to outdoor sculptures and custom fire pits.

custom fire pit from ricki and sons

“We’re thrilled. We love our ShopSabre and we would not be where we are today if it wasn’t for them.”

Advice for CNC newcomers

When Travis and Jackie look back over the past several years with their SideKick, they acknowledge they should have bought the machine much sooner than they did.

“We were paying someone else for the things we could have done in-house,” Travis said. “I spent more paying somebody else instead of buying the table and paying for it with that same money.”

Today, they have the freedom to fully customize their products and to do so at a quicker rate – all while still enjoying the joys of family life.

Create the shop you want with ShopSabre

ShopSabre manufactures world-leading CNC routers and CNC plasmas to provide hobbyists and shop owners alike with unmatched precision, efficiency, and versatility. Whatever your goals may be, we are dedicated to helping you produce outstanding results at a fraction of the labor and cost.

Our Industrial Series (IS) and PRO Series CNC routers provide industrial capability for a fraction of the price, while our SideKick CNC plasmas deliver professional quality at an entry-level cost.

Here are a few of the reasons ShopSabre is able to develop and produce such revolutionary CNC technology:

  • Experienced in-house engineering talent
  • The ability to totally fabricate and test designs onsite
  • The ability to place the designs into production in-house

These are just a few of the advantages of being an American machine tool manufacturer. We offer commercial financing on our CNC equipment to help meet the needs of your budget.

Shop our unmatched collection of CNC routers and CNC plasmas in Minneapolis today to experience CNC the way it was meant to be.

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