Nearly all manufactures big and small, from shoes to space suits, need custom tools to build their product. This is where Progressive Service Die Company on White St comes in. They make heavy duty forged, pre-hard/pre-sharp, steel rule and solid milled cutting dies and cutting die accessories, as well as thermal seal/trim tooling. Shoes for example, have several pieces that are sewn together to make a complete unit. Each of those pieces require a custom cutting die. From your cap to your sneakers, there’s a pretty good shot that something you are wearing right now was cut using a die built by Progressive Service Die Company right here in Jacksonville.

Founded in 1972, Progressive Service Die Company started out on Hwy 17 in the old county prison building. When the company grew out of that space, it moved to White St as the first manufacturer of the city’s industrial corridor. Back then die cutting companies were a very common US manufacturing sector. That all changed in the early 90s during a major shift to offshore manufacturing. By 2016, there were only six cutting die producing companies left in the United States. Three of those companies closed their doors in 2016 causing companies to scramble to Progressive Service Die Company.

The current owners, George and Brian France, have each been making dies for companies around the world for over 40 years. Before that, their father worked at Progressive Service Die Company as a foreman. Now, Brian’s son, Jeremy, has joined the team. He recently started manufacturing medical equipment for a company in the Dominican Republic. The CNC machine he used was Progressive Service Die Company’s first CNC machine, and they have already expanded to a second machine.

Between the industry shrinking in the U.S. and the expansion into reductive manufacturing, Progressive Service Die Company’s client list has grown to over 2,500 customers. It’s not just your shoes and hats that were started with one of the company’s cutting dies, but likely many of the products we all use every day.