Seven lesser-known businesses have a big impact in area

ssloan@herald-leader.comSeptember 22, 2011 

Most Central Kentucky residents know Toyota builds Camrys in Georgetown. The sprawling campus of Lexmark International in North Lexington is a not-so-subtle hint that printers are designed here (they're built overseas). And the occasional wafting smell of peanut butter, coupled with the giant Jif logo, remind drivers along Winchester Road of one of Lexington's most famous products.

But what of Central Kentucky's lesser-known creations? Here are a handful of products that your neighbors make or manage daily:

Acrylic paints: Stanford's DecoArt has produced more than 600 million bottles of paint on its production lines locally. The privately owned company, which has been in business for more than 25 years, boasts a slogan of "Imagine. Create. Discover." Take a look at its catalog, and that just begins to describe the numerous options.

Dixie Cups: Georgia Pacific, known worldwide for its paper-based products, manufactures its famous Dixie Cups at a plant off Mercer Road in Lexington. It's not hard to spot given the giant Dixie Cup-shaped water tower.

Jewelry: Tiffany & Co., known for its luxury jewelry, opened a plant in Lexington this year that produces engagement jewelry; single-stone settings, such as diamond pendants and diamond stud earrings; and the Tiffany "Keys" collection.

Post-it Notes: 3M manufactures Post-it Notes and Scotch tapes at its 450,000-square-foot plant in Cynthiana. The products fill 540 outbound trailers monthly, according to the company.

Keyboards: Lexmark International, which was spun off from IBM, sold off its keyboard technology in 1996 to Unicomp, which to this day makes the computer peripherals in Lexington. The company's 25 employees specialize in assembling custom keyboards like the former IBM ones that had springs behind every key.

Explosive disruptors: Ideal Tool and Die, which recently moved from Lexington to Nicholasville, manufactures a range of products that help dispose of improvised explosive devices, or IEDs. The company, which has been in business for roughly three decades, donated two such devices several years ago to Lexington police. Its 12 employees do the manufacturing on site, said President Scott Johns.

Peanut butter containers: Sure, you know Jif is made in Lexington, but so are the jars it comes in. Graham Packaging, which makes containers for everything from ranch dressing to Clorox, manufactures the Jif containers in Lexington.

More Central Kentucky bucket lists:

Reach Scott Sloan at (859) 231-1447 or 1-800-950-6397, Ext. 1447.

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