Torco, Inc. is a manufacturing plant located in north Marietta city limits at the foot of Kennesaw Mountain. The company was founded in Marietta in 1954 and at the time it was named Grimland Company Manufacturers Inc. It initially produced a large variety of products through U.S. government open procurement programs. Contracts included telescopic tent poles, dental mirrors, practice land mines, shock absorber mechanisms for missiles and numerous other products.
Around 1960, the Eisenhower administration handled a budget crisis by stopping all possible governmental buying. The company was adversely affected. At this time, the owner died while in Washington, D.C. on business. The owner's family sold the company to its manager, Robert Torras, Sr. for $100 with the understanding that the seller would guarantee the financing of all existing contracts, with Torras assuming the responsibility of all future obligations. Torras changed the company's name to Torco, Inc. and over several years, paid off all the former company's bank and trade debt.
"We changed the company from a government prime contractor to a subcontractor making parts for the aircraft industry," Torras said. "Subsequently, the customer base again changed from the aircraft industry to large commercial original equipment manufacturing companies throughout the United States."
With the success of Torco, the Torras' have branched out over the years into many other ventures, including a manufacturing company that produces commercial slope mowers and machines that stop forest fires.
The company's success was acknowledged by the US Government Small Business Administration by recognizing its owner, Robert M. Torras Sr., as "Small Businessman of the Year in Georgia." The National Federation of Businesses and Professional Women's Clubs, Inc. awarded the company with its "Top Hat Award" in recognition of its significant contribution toward advancing the status of employed women.
Over the past 10 years, Torco has continued to change its product to include only machined parts and assemblies that have close tolerances, are difficult to manufacture, have extremely high quality requirements and immediate delivery. The company is operated by its President, Robert M. Torras Sr. The day-to-day operations of the company are run by Vice President Brian Torras and General Manager Allan Kerns, who both live in Cobb County.
"I started working here as a child," said the younger Torras. "I used to come out here and cut grass and do all the stuff you want your kids to do when they're too small to work in the plant."