By Nancy Allen
Mercer County will receive a $321,000 Ohio Department of Development (ODOD) grant to help start operations of a sanitary napkin manufacturer in Coldwater.
The county grant will be loaned to Bruns Building and Development, St. Henry, which has set up the new company, Health Care Products, said Mercer County Community Development Director Larry Stelzer.
Health Care Products will acquire the assets of the bankrupt Tendasoft Inc. of Van Wert and move the business to the former AGCO building, now called the Sycamore Group Complex. The project is expected to retain 32 jobs and create 14 new jobs, a news release from ODOD says.
Employees will move to the new business in Coldwater some time this month and begin production shortly thereafter, Stelzer said.
"This is a company that had been in bankruptcy for some time and had no direction for the last few years, and Mike (Bruns) and his company saw tremendous opportunity," he said. "Sales were always good, that was not the problem. It was just mismanagement of the company." Stelzer said the county requested the state grant because its county revolving loan fund did not have enough funds in it.
The county also has been approved for a $138,000 federal loan for the company. Both the state and federal funds will be used by company officials to buy equipment and inventory from Tendasoft Inc.
"We had to talk extra hard to state officials because Tendasoft defaulted on a revolving loan to Van Wert County about eight years ago, so we had to talk a lot to convince them," Stelzer said.
Bruns Development also has put some money into fixing up the Sycamore Group Complex building, bringing the total cost of the project to nearly $1 million, Stelzer said.
Bruns officials have been working with Tendasoft officials for the last eight months to improve efficiencies before the move. A new production manager and a maintenance manager have been hired, Stelzer also said.
Tendasoft had made feminine napkins sold under the Preference band name.
Health Care Products will be located in 30,000-square-feet of the Sycamore Group Complex, which has a total 1.5 million square feet. The other two tenants in the building are the Relizon Co. and Obringer Wheel Co.
Mike Bruns was unavailable for comment Friday.