By Timothy Cox
Lima-based Randall Bearings Inc. will invest an estimated $3 million in a new manufacturing facility in Coldwater and create two dozen or more jobs.
The project represents an expansion of the company, which employs about 85 at its company headquarters. Randall workers make brass parts, mostly for the heavy machinery industry. Caterpillar is a major buyer of the company's parts.
The new Coldwater production line will target a new segment of the company's business, President Kent Morgan said during a news conference Tuesday to announce the plan. Workers in Coldwater will make brass parts for industrial pumps and pneumatic and hydraulic cylinders. Production is expected to begin this fall.
"This is a very class company with a great history behind them," said Mercer County Community Development Director Larry Stelzer .
The project will involve construction of a 24,000-square-foot facility on three acres in the Sanning Industrial Park in Coldwater. The company also will hold a purchase option for an additional four acres of land adjacent to the site for possible future expansion. Terms of fiscal incentives from local governments still are being worked out and should be finalized later this spring, Stelzer said. The company is seeking a revolving loan from the county, a tax abatement agreement and a couple of state infrastructure grants.
Morgan said the company currently is backlogged and is hoping to use the slower fall season to catch up with orders by using the new Coldwater facility. Production at Lima then would return to its original focus on parts for large tractors and other machinery. The company needs productive months out of the Coldwater site this year before the busy season begins again Jan. 1, Morgan said.
"We need to be doing business in October," Morgan said.
Production will begin with just a handful of workers but Morgan estimated 25 to 35 people would be on the job within the next two or three years.
Randall Bearings began in Chicago in 1906 and relocated to Lima in 1949. In the 1960s, the company began specializing in brass parts, which remains it focus today.
Randall officials looked at many places to build the new facility, including Coldwater, St. Henry and Fort Recovery in Mercer County. After weighing all of the factors, the choice was clear, Morgan said.
"Your whole economic development infrastructure exceeded our expectations," Morgan said. "It doesn't matter which of the three towns we picked because it will take all of Mercer County for us to be successful."