City helps company’s growing pains

VistaTek finds room in Stillwater to expand manufacturing operations

VistaTek employees Al Axelson, left, and Shiann Lor, photo above, make plastic cars given to open house guests Thursday. The snap-together plastic toy was an example of the type of product VistaTek can manufacture. (Gazette staff photo by Erik Sandin)

When VistaTek needed to expand its manufacturing business, Stillwater eased the company’s growing pains.

Helped by TIF funding, VistaTek nearly tripled its office and manufacturing space, leaving a 15,000-square-foot Vadnais Heights facility in July for a 56,000-square foot site on Greeley Street South.

“The facility was built out for a U.S. Manufacturer,” said Danny Mishek, VistaTek co-owner and managing director.

The company held an open house at its new Stillwater facility Thursday afternoon where visitors could walk the manufacturing floor and look at VistaTek’s array of injection molding and production and prototype tooling machines.

“We say we’re a custom manufacturer. We make custom plastic parts for 2,000 customers,” Mishek said.

VistaTek’s wide range of products appeal to many companies, Mishek said.

“Some of the customers we work with are 3M; we work with Medtronic, we work with Toro. It shows you how diverse our product is,” he said. “We can make everything from poker chips to extremely complicated parts. We also offer value by offering assembly, packaging and decorating.”

VistaTek was started in 1996 by Mishek’s parents. Mishek, his brother, Allen, and sister, Jennifer Sutherland, bought the company from their parents four years ago.
About a year ago, Dan Mishek approached his siblings with the idea of selling the company’s additive manufacturing (AM) unit. The idea was to have the company focus on mold-making and molding divisions, and have money to buy new equipment, add employees and move into a larger facility, according to a company handout.

After Ramsey, Minn.-based InTech Industries, Inc. bought VistaTek’s AM unit, VistaTek added equipment, employees and looked for a larger production facility. The company closed on its new Stillwater site this summer and took a few days to move to the new location, Mishek said.

“We’re were officially down for four days, which is impressive,” he said.
VistaTek currently has 31 employees and Mishek said the company wants to add five more workers. And company staff are enjoying their Stillwater facility, Mishek added.
“They love the restaurant choices. They love the convenience of Stillwater. It’s been an extremely nice upgrade,” he said.

“Stillwater is a great area,” added VistaTek founder Jim Mishek. “I think it was a great decision. Stillwater is one of the area’s great communities. It’s got its own personality. They love being out here. It’s a great area.”

“We’re delighted to have them locate in Stillwater,” said Todd Streeter, executive director of the Greater Stillwater Chamber of Commerce. “It speaks a lot for our area. VistaTek came in willing to make a major commitment to the building, to be eco-friendly.”

Although no longer involved with VistaTek, Jim Mishek believes his children’s decision to move the company to Stillwater will pay dividends in the future.
“I could see their vision and passion. Vision, passion and energy are what you need to grow a company. They did not move here to sit on their laurels. They came here to grow,” Jim Mishek said.

Contact Erik Sandin at [email protected]