|Floyds Knobs company, RC Laser, relocating to Pekin|
Since the tornado swept through Pekin on March 2, 2012, there hasn’t been a lot of growth to celebrate. That’s starting to change.
On Friday, the town took another step in the right direction when community officials announced that a company from Floyds Knobs, RC Laser Inc., has purchased the Fabriform facility and will re-locate.
The company does metal fabrication for two different Toyota plants.
RC Laser currently has 10 employees and could add as many as another 10 over the next year once they get moved.
Bringing the company to Pekin took a unified effort, involving lots of different people and groups.
It started with RC Laser employee JK King, who lives in Washington County and drove past the Fabriform facility daily, knowing his boss, Charlie Hanson, was looking for a larger facility.
King suggested the location to Hanson and he and Linda Temple with Day Company Realtors began talking.
Temple didn’t enter into the conversations alone, she got Greg Fitzloff, who is the City of Salem’s Director of Community Development and Marketing, involved.
“One of the reasons I got Greg involved is because when the two of us work together, we don’t take no for an answer,” Temple said.
That persistence paid off in another venture recently when Fitzloff and Temple worked together to secure a new location for H and R Bakery in Salem at the old Craft Town building.
“We worked on that project for about three years together,” Temple said. “We both have a history of sticking with something until we see it through.
“I knew Charlie had some reservations, and a move is a very big deal for him because he has been there for a while. I also knew that Greg had every connection that Charlie would need. That’s why I wanted to get him involved.”
When Fitzloff met with Hanson, he said there was a question about potential financial help should he decide to move his company.
Fitzloff reached out to County Councilman David Hoar and he thought there was money available through the county’s EDIT (Economic Development) fund.
Hoar and several other county officials presented Hanson the $10,000 check at the announcement last Friday.
Hoar said using the EDIT funds to help bring RC Laser here is the type of expenditure the fund was created for.
“This money mainly comes through our payroll taxes and can be used for re-development and economic development,” Hoar said. “This fits right into it to help him with his moving expenses and put a little jingle in his pocket.”
Hoar said the commissioners had to approve the expenditure, but the county council certainly gave their blessings.
“. . . It’s neat to see this community, which was devastated four years ago with the tornado, to see the re-growth that’s taking place,” Hoar said.
RC Laser opened in 1996. The current facility in Floyds Knobs is 15,000 square feet and the new facility in Pekin is 65,000 square feet.
“The first question Charlie asked is whether or not Washington County wants manufacturing, because the current location make it difficult,” Fitzloff said. “We talked about and a variety of other things and were able to come together.”
Hanson got the answers he was looking for and he is hoping to be in the Pekin facility by the first of May.
“I love you guys down here,” Hanson said. “Everyone has been great to work with. I think we can really grow once we get moved into this building.”
Hanson said moving the equipment while continuing to meet the customers’ needs is the biggest challenge.
“We’re going to try to keep things going during the move,” Hanson said. “I have two guys from Chicago who said they could move them and set them in up two days.”
In addition to the metal fabrication, the location in Pekin could also soon be used as a distribution center for American Metals.
“They are talking about setting steel in our shop,” Hanson said. “Anyone in the area who deals with American (Metals) would have a quicker supply. I thing that would benefit everyone.”
Hanson said he plans to meet with the owner of American Metal in May to discus setting something up.