Raining Rose nears completion of 'dramatic' production space expansion

 

A Cedar Rapids cosmetics maker soon will start manufacturing larger amounts of personal care products for sale nationwide.

Raining Rose plans to finish 8,100 square feet of new production space next month inside its 30th St. Dr. SE facility.

Started in January, the $2.5 million renovation so far included installation of two 2,000- and 600-gallon blending tanks, up from the previous 300-gallon tank size, accessible from a new 12-foot mezzanine platform.

 

Workers also soon will add new filling equipment to transfer the blended products — including lip balm, lotion and sunscreen — into bottles, jars and tubes, ready for labeling.

And Steve Giese, automation engineer and project manager for the expansion, is working on a dispensing system to automatically pump liquid ingredients from drums into the tanks, increasing dispensing accuracy and efficiency for workers.

 

“We can guarantee quality and consistency both from a working standpoint, the day-to-day lives for the batchers, and also the product that we produce,” Giese said.

Construction on the new production space began in January and is expected to wrap up in July, with the first batches to start production in early August.

Ian Flynn, the company’s engineering director, said Raining Rose handles each step in manufacturing its personal care products entirely in-house. The new production space will represent a “dramatic” expansion of the company’s blending capabilities, he added.

“It’s a very logical and exciting next step for us and something that our customers were asking for,” Flynn said.

 

Mike Wehr, the company’s chief operating officer, said Raining Rose is not “growing just to grow,” but rather to meet customer demands for more water-based products such as shaving creams and lotions, compared to more traditional offerings like lip balms.

Raining Rose has worked with 208 brands encompassing 1,000 individual products over the years, and currently can manufacture an annual 237 million units of product, according to its website.

Many brands, Wehr said, don’t manufacture their own products, but rather are more akin to “marketing companies” that contract with businesses like Raining Rose.

 

“You could buy (the brands) at Target, Walmart, CVS, Walgreens, and you’ll never know we make it,” he said. “Those brands don’t really want you to know that.”

More brands recently have started selling cosmetics online, contracting those services to Raining Rose to enter the market with no capital expense, Wehr said.

“That’s continuing to grow and, with it, our manufacturing,” he said.

 

Raining Rose consolidated its operations to its current $12 million facility from three Cedar Rapids buildings in 2012, and within the past four years invested about $9 million in new equipment.

 

The company has about 300 current employees and Wehr said he expects 10 to 15 new jobs will result from the new production space.

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