Although perhaps most liberally used
when talk of replacing or updating legacy
equipment or a legacy method is on the
table, the word itself takes on an entirely
different meaning for second or third
With family owned and operated
businesses in particular, legacy extends
beyond a company’s day-to-day func-tionality — it’s much more personal
than that. Instead, legacy becomes about
memories, family, duty and a desire to
honor not just a company’s history but
also one’s family history.
Succession planning is part of this
equation and something that all second
or third generation manufacturers must
consider at some point. Oftentimes, this
includes measured decision-making about
carrying on the company and family
legacy, while also bringing in ideas of
growth, expansion and even innovation.
Most companies (and families) have years
to weigh their options and prepare for the
inevitable transitions that will follow.
Unfortunately, that isn’t what happened
for sisters Stacey and Sara Bales.
In November 2009, Steve Bales –
Stacey and Sara's father – unexpectedly
passed away. Steve’s death was a shock
to his close friends, family and, of
course, to all those who knew him as the
founder and fearless leader of a thriving
coatings and finishing company.
Along with his brother Mike Bales,
Steve co-founded Bales Mold Service
(the name later changed to Bales Metal
Surface Solution), a company that got
its start in 1978 in a 1,000 square foot
space in Lombard, Illinois. At the time,
the only service offered was diamond
During their father’s tenure, the company expanded in almost every way
In 1985, the company moved to
Downers Grove, Illinois, after building a
new 15,000 square foot facility. With this
physical expansion, the company also
expanded their services to include elec-troless nickel and chrome plating.
As the years passed, Steve Bales continued to grow the coatings and finishes business that he and his brother had begun.
In 2001, a second facility was even
opened in Harlingen, Texas, which
allowed Bales to grow its customer base
and, again, increase its service offerings.
Four years later, Bales also began planning a 14,000 square foot expansion to
their Downers Grove facility.