For immediate Release: August 2009

Entrepreneur comes home

By Jeri Packer
The Downriver VOICE• August 26, 2009

(Excerpts from the article as published August 26, 2009):

The old Vogel Industries building on Degurse Avenue will soon be turning out products used by performers on stages across the country.

The new Marine City business is due to former local, Bob Klingler, who recently decided to return to his hometown.

Bob and Sara Klingler own Rockford Carving Company, a 20-year-old enterprise that manufactures guitar components for Gibson, CF Martin, Fender, and other well-known names in the guitar industry. The move opens up an opportunity to provide up to 25 new jobs next year.

From about age 8 until he graduated from high school, Bob Klingler worked at the family cattle farm in Cottrellville Township on weekends. At 18, he left Long Lane Farm and the St. Clair River he grew to love to pursue his education and career goals, settling in Rockford, Ill. - until now.

"After a while, you just want to go home," he said.

The Economic Development Alliance worked with Klingler in finding and securing the 52,000 sq.ft. facility, located in the Marine City industrial district. David Haynes, Director of Business Attraction for the Economic Development Alliance of St. Clair County said, "We are pleased to be of assistance to Rockford Carving and appreciate the decision of Mr. and Mrs. Klingler to relocate their growing company in this unique business to our community. It is another example of important non-automotive diversification of our economy."

Blue Water Small Business Concierge Scott Beedon, who also assisted in the company's transition, agreed that Rockford Carving provided a unique and fascinating service.

"There's a cool element in that it's the entertainment business," he said. "They're not just punching out a part for a Ford Focus. The parts that Judy (White) and I saw were these intricate parts like mother of pearl cut-outs for the Gibson logo."

While 25 new jobs might not seem like a lot, Marine City Chamber of Commerce President Judy White said the new company was still a real boost for the city.

"This is really a major development for Marine City because property on Degurse has done nothing but decline for the last several years," she said. "Businesses are folding up and leaving right now. This is a reversal of the trend. Now we've got an important corporation moving in that is also going to employ some people there."

Marine City Manager John Gabor said, "It would be nice if it was 250 jobs, but we don't have buildings big enough to supply that kind of work force. If they create 10 jobs for 10 people that didn't have work as opposed to those waiting for a plant promising hundreds of jobs that aren't coming through. I'll take the 10 and 20-job companies all day long."

Rockford Carving moved in June 20 and started shipping parts last week. Klingler used skilled craftsmen to form, cut, and inlay intricate wood and shell pieces into miniature works of art, including head veneers, fingerboards, mother of pearl inlays, ebony and rosewood bridges, and brass and die cast hardware. Job-seekers can apply at the shop at 837 Degurse Avenue.

The Klinglers built up their business in Rockford, Ill., until there was no more room to grow. That's when they began considering a move back to Marine City.

"We decided that if we are going to move somewhere else, why don't we move to Marine City near the farm where I spent my childhood?" he said.

The entrepreneurs are here to stay. They just purchased a home in Marine City and are enjoying waterfront walks with their rat terrier, Jack, in the evenings.

"A big reason we came back is that I'm so fond of the river," Klingler said.

He recalled fishing, boating, and water skiing adventures, campfires on the beach and watching the freighters in the days of his youth.

"You can't make up memories like that," he said.

Rated "WORLD CLASS MANFACTURER" © Rockford Carving 2019