Founder: John M. Bonforte Sr.
Headquarters: Long Branch, N.J.
Number of employees: 53.
Key family members active in the company: John M. Bonforte Jr., president, chief operating officer.
What it does: Monmouth Rubber & Plastics is a U.S. manufacturer of closed cell sponge rubber and plastic foam.
Markets served: Automotive, medical, sports, construction, electrical, miscellaneous industrial.
Number of generations involved in the business:Two.
What are the strengths of a family owned business? Family values. Our family values guide us in our business operations: How we treat each other, our employees and our customers. We bring to work the Bonforte family values and apply them to all aspects of our business.
What are the challenges of a family owned business? John Jr. is our succession plan. He now owns Monmouth Rubber & Plastics. He grew up in the business. After college, he worked for GE Plastics, learned the realities of the world, and then he came back ready to assume his current role. His having complete ownership resolves many possible issues. I advise; he decides.
Do non-family members hold any executive or ownership roles? Joann Buonomo is the office manager (who has) 42 years with Monmouth. Putting family values to the front is important. All issues are worked out just fine.
How much does the younger generation influence decisions? All four of my children and many of my grandchildren do and have worked at various tasks in the company. They bring vitality and a fresh approach, which helps us to stay focused on the people aspects of business.
Something you might not know about the company: When Monmouth started, there were 13 companies that manufactured closed cell sponge rubber buns. When I said I was going to go into manufacturing the above products, many said I was crazy. They said, “All 13 companies are struggling with quality, etc.” My answer was, “You can be crazy and still have a good idea.’ Today there are three of us left in the U.S. We are doing just fine.”
What advice would you offer a young entrepreneur who wants to start a family run business? Follow your dreams. Stick to it. If you feel it in your heart, run with it. Don’t give up. Be prepared to dream in the sky with your feet planted firmly on the ground.
And another thing: As a U.S. manufacturer of closed cell buns, Monmouth offers all the things that the government is trying to do to bring business back. The firm believes its business model works, products proudly made in the U.S.