By Starrla Cray
WINSTED Tobias Flood and Mark Eiden aren’t afraid of hard work.
At 22 years old, they’ve already started their own business, on top of earning college degrees and holding down full time jobs.
Flood, an alumnus of Dassel-Cokato High School, and Eiden, who graduated from Holy Trinity High School in Winsted, began operating their metal fabrication business, Metal Trade Solutions (MTS), in March.
“We want to make a difference in the way young Americans view manufacturing,” Flood said. “Modern manufacturing is clean and competitive, and our focus is showing American manufacturing can compete with foreign markets.”
Located at 311 First Street in Winsted in a portion of the former Dairy Concepts creamery, MTS’s primary markets include mid-Minnesota manufacturers that need welding, fabrication, CNC plasma cutting, and machine tool services, as well as contracts for small and medium weldments and machined components for low part quantities.
“Right now, it’s mainly family and friends,” Eiden said, explaining that the company aims to “take it slow,” and gradually build on its success.
For Eiden and Flood, working in the manufacturing industry comes naturally.
Eiden, son of Tim and Patty Eiden, grew up on a dairy farm in rural Chaska. As a boy, he loved fixing machinery and learning how things worked. Although Eiden didn’t have specific machining experience until college, it didn’t take long for him to become an expert.
Flood, son of Corynn and Mark Flood of Cokato, was also attracted to hands-on activities, and took as many shop classes as he could in high school.
When the two students met at St. Cloud Technical and Community College, they discovered that they had similar goals.
“After our first year of school, we thought ‘let’s open a shop,’” Flood recalled.
“We realized that with the right skills and equipment, we could fabricate anything,” Eiden added.
With this plan in mind, they took several business classes in addition to earning their associate’s degrees in machine tool technology with an emphasis in mold making.
They also made extra money by getting jobs in the manufacturing industry. Currently, they divide their time between outside jobs (Eiden at 3D CNC in Hutchinson as a CNC operator, and Flood at Aubright Inc. in St. Cloud as a CNC programmer) and their new business.
Before opening MTS, Flood and Eiden spent many months creating a business model. One major resource was St. Cloud’s small business development center. Through that, they were introduced to the Southwest Initiative Foundation (SWIF), which offered financing for the business start-up costs.
As microloan clients, Eiden and Flood receive free technical assistance from SWIF staff who all have personal business experience, according to a press release. Areas of support include business planning and reading financials, QuickBooks training, marketing assistance, and other opportunities for the life of the loan.
One year from now, Eiden said they hope to have their first loan paid off for their equipment. Another goal is to purchase a CNC mill.
Long-term plans include purchasing a building for MTS, but for now Eiden and Flood are happy renting space from the K-Way Express owners, who are Eiden’s uncles.
MTS works with both individuals and businesses. Flood can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or (612) 203-7646; and Eiden’s contact information is email@example.com or (952) 200-6622.