Frain’s Quick Response to Holten Meats’ Urgent Need Resulted in Long-Term Partnership

Holton’s History

Holten Meats is a meat processing and distribution company that operates a facility in Sauget, Illinois, with 13 processing lines. Its main product are individually quick frozen hamburgers.

Pivoting Overnight

Prior to COVID-19, Holten’s Sauget plant processed about 60 million pounds of meat per year. The business was about 50% foodservice and 50% retail. In early 2020, due to the pandemic, Holten experienced a radical shift in its business. As people stopped eating at restaurants, the foodservice business plummeted and the retail business exploded, as purchases boomed through retail channels. As demand shifted, Holten’s plant was not configured to abruptly shift its operations to nearly 100% retail processing. The company had to immediately pivot, which meant obtaining the right equipment, fast and affordably.


Sauget Plant Manager Kevin Arlin realized that due to the shift in demand, Holten immediately needed additional flow wrapping capacity, which meant adding a horizontal flow wrapper machine. But supply chain issues were causing long lead times in getting new equipment. With this in mind, Holten saw its best option as immediately renting a flow wrapper—and getting it up and running as quickly as possible.

Not knowing where to turn to rent a flow wrapper equipment, Arlin did a Google search for “food processing equipment,” which identified options to rent equipment. One option at the top of the list was Frain.

“I had heard the name ‘Frain’ before…

…but I didn’t really know much about them and hadn’t previously done business with them,” said Arlin. “I didn’t realize what a resource they were.”

As a next step, Arlin quickly contacted Rain, and his questions were simple:

Do you have the equipment we need?
Are you able to rent it to us?
How fast can you get it here?
“We were in desperate need of getting this equipment quickly,” Arlin said.

In responding to these questions, Frain’s answers stood out:

Yes, Frain understood exactly what Holten needed and had the precise equipment.
Yes, Frain could definitely rent the equipment to Holten—since equipment rental is Frain’s main business.
And Frain could get the equipment to Holten and it could be up and running in a few days!
From Arlin’s perspective, it wasn’t just that Frain’s answers to his questions were exactly what he was looking for; what also stood out was Frain’s responsiveness and their deep expertise in equipment and equipment rental. “I think what impressed me the most was Frain’s level of expertise,” Arlin said.

Arlin explained that he had worked with other rental equipment companies before, but the companies weren’t really experts on all of the different types of equipment. “When I said words like ‘flow wrapper’ or Bosch or another brand or any type of equipment, I was amazed that Frain knew exactly what I was talking about. They knew what I needed.” From Holten’s perspective, the decision was easy and clear: they decided to work with Frain.

Frain to the rescue

Based on Holten’s urgent need, Frain sprang into action!

In Holten’s initial phone call, Frain confirmed it had the equipment in stock and could have it up and running in Holten’s plant within days.

Within hours after the initial call, Frain provided Holten with a video showing the exact machine they had that could meet Holten’s needs.

The very next day, Holten sent some meat product to Frain and Frain tested this product on the recommended equipment to make sure the equipment worked to meet Holten’s needs. It did.

Within one week, Frain shipped the equipment to Holten’s facility and Frain sent a technician to Holten to be sure that everything started smoothly.

Benefits of Working with Frain

The amazing experience that Holten had working with Frain on the initial flow wrapper has led to an ongoing partnership. Holten has since rented sealers, tape machines, and approximately a dozen pieces of equipment in the past few years.

In reflecting on this experience, Arlin mentioned the following benefits of working with Frain:

  • Frain’s variety of equipment. Arlin is constantly astounded by the variety of equipment and brands that Frain has in stock. “I’ve been amazed at the variety of equipment they have,” he said.
  • Frain’s quality of equipment. Frain’s rental solutions are truly “plug and play” equipment. Buying any machine requires thorough reconditioning, set-up, and production adjustments to reach desired efficiencies. In contrast, Frain provides an all-encompassing plug-and-play solution at a fraction of the lead time of an OEM. Every machine that leaves Frain’s facilities is equipped with state-of-the art control panels, set to each customer’s unique specifications, and tested ahead of time at Frain’s facility using each customer’s product. By renting Frain’s plug-and-play machinery, customers have access to brand new machinery, dialed into their product.This was exactly what Holten has experienced, over and over again, with each piece of machinery that Holten has rented from Frain. “Everything we brought in from Frain has been ready to run.
  • Frain’s equipment rental model Renting equipment instead of buying it significantly reduces capital requirements. It also enables manufacturers to quickly replace aging equipment or to respond quickly to respond to new market opportunities, as Holten did in ramping up to meet customer demand in its retail business. “Our relationship with Frain has allowed us to drive change a lot quicker,” said Arlin.
  • Frain’s training process. Frain provides videos about each piece of equipment so customers can look at a specific model and learn about its capabilities. Also, Holten has sent several maintenance and production people to Frain at various times to test different pieces of equipment in conjunction with Frain. This is extremely valuable.
  • The overall experience of working with Frain. In addition to excellent equipment and fast lead time, Frain is great to work with. Arlin described getting CAD drawings from Frain that show how a piece of equipment fits into Holten’s production area. He said, “Frain is very organized. They’re very detail oriented. They ask the right questions.”

“Our business has changed.

Knowing and having that relationship with Frain has allowed us to drive change a lot quicker,” said Kevin Arlin, Holten Meats Plant Manager. “If it wasn’t for my relationship with Frain, we would not have been able to meet our customers’ needs.”

Arlin sees Frain as a true partner and says that Frain has made a major difference in Holten’s business. “There aren’t words to describe the partnership that Holten has with Frain, and how it formed so quickly.”

To learn more about how Frain’s rental solutions can help your business, contact us or call a Frain representative at 630-283-8979.

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