While the gunsmithing and reloading tools manufactured by Forster Products has improved over the years little else has changed for the Lanark business.
Long-rooted techniques and values define how they operate and precision they provide.
Forster Products co-owner Rod Hartman said, “They all want to be better. They want to shoot farther.”
That’s the target Forster Products has been shooting for since it’s beginning nearly 90 years ago.
Hartman said, “So many firearms I think now everybody wants to reload and that’s our business, so we’ve just been busy, busy, busy.”
Rod Hartman and Bob Ruch each have more than 40 years experience at Forster and worked their way up to co-own this staple Lanark business.
Forster Products co-owner Bob Ruch said, “Between Rod and I, we had quite a run together.”
Rod and Bob said while now they’re focused on perfecting what leaves a hunter or marksman’s gun, Forster started in the 1930s powering miniature propellers.
Hartman said, “I heard they were one of the largest manufactures of model airplane engines at the time.”
It was two Foster brothers in the suburbs of Chicago revving up this legacy.
Hartman said, “Got a Model 29, 99s, I kind of collect them over the years.”
And while the modern Forster still receives requests about the aviation past, the company’s move to Lanark in the 1940s to fulfil a passion of the brothers.
Ruch said, “They wanted to get out of the city and get out to a nicer area to do hunting and fishing.”
They’ve made a name across the world.
Hartman said, “Long-range shooters that’s really picky about what they want to do.”
And how they do it has changed very little over the years with the machines they use. While new CNCs operate part of this business, a large part is equipment dating back to the early years of this shop.
Ruch said, “There’s a program where they could send it over to France after D-Day, after World War II was over that machine when over to rebuild France and then it came back here.”
Forster Products Operations Manager Scott Kempel said, “Hardest thing to keep these running is finding people that still know how to run them up. Some of these can be a six, seven-hour set up just to get a job set up and time it right.”
For Rod and Bob, the old school touches extend throughout their business with relationships lasting decades.
Hartman said, “The people both we’re working with solving problems day in, day out right in the shop as well as our customers.”
As a business, that’s how they say they’re able to hit the mark.