Russell Springs Battery Company Sparks Export Success
In the rural hamlet of Russell Springs in southern central Kentucky, Superior Battery Manufacturing Co. Inc. has made quite a name for itself – especially with its approach to exporting its products.
In fact, many people who live nea
the company’s plant are amazed that Superior, which has 175 employees, ships its battery products to some 20 countries around the globe, says Ray Goodearl, vice president of international sales and marketing.
“When you are telling people in the community that our products being built by the local workforce are being shipped all over the world, they kind of do a double take,” Goodearl says.
Exporter of Year Award
The 30-year-old company, which manufactures batteries for uses in industries that include automotive, commercial, marine and recreation, and lawn and garden, received a 2011 Exporter of the Year award in March 2011 in the automotive category from ThinkGlobal Inc., publisher of Commercial News USA, the official export promotion magazine of the U.S. Department of Commerce. And in 2010, Superior received the Kentucky World Trade Center’s Governor’s Award for Inernational Trade Excellence.
Kentucky companies exported more than $20 billion in goods during 2011, and exports added $5.3 billion to the state’s gross domestic product and created 48,700 jobs. Products including transportation equipment, chemicals, machinery and computer and electronic products make their way from Kentucky factories to markets around the world.
Goodearl says Superior Battery made the timely decision in 2007 to diversify its business model to include international sales. Its first market was the Dominican Republic, where the company sells its Superlex golf cart battery. Dominican homes and businesses use the product for alternative power because the nation’s power grid is unstable.
Assistance from State
Goodearl calls Superior’s exporting strategy a “home run” and praises the Kentucky economic-development infrastructure for assistance.
The state encourages companies of all sizes to engage in global business through programs such as the Kentucky Export Initiative, which provides a number of export-related services. Details on the program can be found at kyexports.com.
“If you are willing to put in the work, the tools are there to help make a small business successful,” Goodearl says.