My Biz: Hiawatha label manufacturer rebuilding after 2008 flood

"The daily challenge is trying to keep our name out there."

Labels for Cedar Ridge Distillery (left) and Peacetree Brewery are displayed at Lueck Label Manufacturing in the Cedar G
Labels for Cedar Ridge Distillery (left) and Peacetree Brewery are displayed at Lueck Label Manufacturing in the Cedar Graphics building in Hiawatha. Lueck Label has leased space in the Cedar Graphics plant since September 2008 after the company was displaced by the flooding that summer. (Cliff Jette/The Gazette)

When the flood waters of the summer of 2008 took out key printing equipment for Lueck Label Manufacturing, it slowed the growth of the small roll-label printing company, but it didn’t stop it.

Owner Rebecca Lueck and her three full-time employees moved the remains of the business into space at Cedar Graphics in Hiawatha in September 2008. The company resumed producing roll labels as it had done since 1985 when Lueck launched the flexographic printing company in a one-story building at 218 Fourth Ave. SW.

“We had to purchase new equipment because all of our old equipment was based on electronics,” said Sales Manager Chris Loffswold. “There was the choice of either gutting out and revamping every piece of equipment or getting new stuff. We chose to get a couple of new pieces of equipment.”

The flexographic printing process uses circular rubber plates to print labels. Lueck Label specializes in roll-fed labels for product identification, packaging and shipping, as well as thermal transfer and direct thermal labels.

Lueck Label''s products are used by a variety of industries, including Rockwell Collins in Cedar Rapids, medical equipment suppliers such as Civco Medical Solutions in Kalona, and local florists.

“Companies like Rockwell Collins use our labels more for transportation logistics -- moving their equipment from point A to point B using shipping and barcode labels," Loffswold explained.

Another relatively new industry for Iowa is proving to be a good source of business for Lueck Label.

“We are starting to do more in the food and beverage industry," Loffswold said. “Iowa wines, craft beers and spirits are becoming more popular.

“Cedar Ridge Winery is one of our clients. We do a lot of the labels for their whiskeys and bourbons.”

There is more to choosing a label for a product than the casual observer might realize.

“This business is relational,” said Judy Schwarz, who performs administrative support at Lueck Label. “There is a learning process to the label business.

“When Chris is working with a client, he is showing and teaching them what type of label and what type of adhesive is best for their product."

“There might have been a three-hour discussion that went into the size, shape, the look they wanted to have, how long they needed it to stay on their bottle, or whether they wanted it to wash off so somebody can recycle their bottle,” Loffswold said.

Lueck Label runs an efficient operation with four full-time employees and a seasonal part-time employee  when needed. Among Loffswold’s various duties is identifying new business prospects.

“It is something new every day,” Loffswold said. “You get a phone call and somebody wants a wine label. The next guy wants a label for his salsas or jellies or jams.

"Our business is very customized and very tailored to our end user. The daily challenge is trying to keep our name out there."

  • Business: Lueck Label Manufacturing
  • Sales manager: Chris Loffswold
  • Address: 311 Parsons Dr., Hiawatha
  • Phone: (319) 363-6371


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