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Serial Entrepreneur Leverages 504 Debentures to Bring Jobs to Wisconsin Communities

Crystal Finishing Systems Mosinee Facility purchased with 504  loan

Mark Matthiae, founder and CEO of Crystal Finishing Systems, is a serial entrepreneur.  After founding and growing several auto and body shop businesses in the 1970s and 1980s, he and his wife Laurie started Crystal Finishing Systems as a part-time enterprise in 1993 with a staff of three and one client.  The business grew quickly.  By 1996, they had established a headquarters in Schofield and had 22 employees involved in production of coatings for metal and plastic products, and by 1999 they were operating 3 shifts around the clock with about 85 employees.

Matthiae has used SBA’s 504 financing several times, diversifying operations, growing facilities and increasing employment.   The funding has enabled Crystal Finishing Systems to leverage its development from a paint job shop to a full-service manufacturing, warehousing, and delivery firm with seven divisions:  aluminum extrusion and fabrication, high performance coatings, powder coating, plastics coating, E-coating, and anodizing in three locations:  Schofield, Mosinee, and River Falls.  They currently serve more than 400 clients in the building, transportation, machinery and equipment, medical equipment, electronics, and furniture industries.   Products are exported by their clients but not by the business itself. Prominent examples of their work include the Museum of the Moving Image in Astoria, NY; the Chicago Theological Seminary; and the NASCAR Plaza at NASCAR’s Hall of Fame in Charlotte, NC. Florida Polytechnic University Lakeland Fl., Mercury Marine Outboard Motor Finishing and assembly.

Working with the Wisconsin Business Development Finance Corporation, they took on their first 504 loan in July 2002 for just over $1 million.  Within two years employment had grown from 140 to 210.  In 2007 they took on a second loan and expansion for a similar amount, with employment growing to more than 400 by 2009.  While the company felt the impact of the recession between 2007 and 2010, they were able to manage through it with good planning and use of resources.  After a period of right-sizing the company’s growth has continued.

The Jobs Act of 2010 sought to jumpstart lending for small businesses after access to capital became difficult during the recession.  With the Jobs Act’s increased alternate size standard for lending (of $15 million net worth and average net income over the last two years of $5 million), Crystal Finishing was still eligible for SBA financing.    A third loan in 2013 for the purchase and renovation of a manufacturing facility in Mosinee added a paint and press line to the business, with another 275 people joining Crystal Finishing in this small town.  With more than 1,600,000 square feet of space for business operations, total employment now stands at 800 people and average wages over $40,000.  Employees also receive free health care at a business-funded clinic.  

Throughout the company’s development and growth, Mark has sought to embody the company’s core values:  Respecting each Individual & Valuing their Personal Development; Being Good Stewards of Community & Environment; Continuous Quality Improvement; and Insuring Sustainability, Growth & Long term relationships. 

 He has shared his success by giving back to his employees and his community.  He has mentored several staff members in developing their own businesses. In addition to active leadership roles in his and Lauri’s  church, Mark is a board member for several health care, education and business organizations in Marathon County.  Crystal Finishing has received extensive local and national recognition, including:

Inc.’s  5000 fastest growing companies in the nation 2007-2011; the “SBA 100”, top job creators in the nation in 2011; runner up SBA Small Business Person of the Year in 2005;  and 2000 Marathon County Small Business of the Year.   Mark and Laurie were named Citizens of the Year in the Village of Weston in 2007.

Mark continues to pursue new challenges with the co-founding of Crystal Medical Products, LLC in 2014.  In recognition of his business acumen and success and his service to his local and business community, SBA has named Mark Matthiae Wisconsin’s Small Business Person of the Year.


Company Name: 
Crystal Finishing Systems, Inc.
Schofield, Mosinee, River Falls, Wisconsin