Thursday, August 28, 2014

New business to offer economic support

By ABBY ECKEL, Herald Staff Writer | 12/31/2013

RICHMOND — A state-of-the-art manufacturing facility in southern Franklin County is nearing completion.

Midwest Columns LLC, 201 S. State St., Richmond, is expected to manufacture three- and four-ply laminated columns to be used in the post-frame industry, Rob Pearce, president of Quality Structures, Inc., said.

RICHMOND — A state-of-the-art manufacturing facility in southern Franklin County is nearing completion.

Midwest Columns LLC, 201 S. State St., Richmond, is expected to manufacture three- and four-ply laminated columns to be used in the post-frame industry, Rob Pearce, president of Quality Structures, Inc., said.

“Most people know [post-frame] by the term ‘pole barn,’” Pearce said. “Five years ago, the industry started using three-ply laminated columns that are nailed and glued together to make a single column and replacing old solid treated columns.”

Pearce’s son, Zach, and Zach’s wife, Jenna, will be the managing members of Midwest Columns, Rob Pearce said, but he and his wife also have an interest in it.

“Zach will be managing it and running it, getting it started,” he said. “Zach has spent the last four years working in the agricultural seed and fertilizer business and has voiced a desire to either get involved with the family business or some subsidiary thereof and that’s when we decided to create a post-frame plant and allow him to own and manage that plant.”

Production is expected to start by Feb. 15, 2014, Rob Pearce said, and the final touches are being put on the facility.

“We bought the ground back in June and started construction on the plant about the first of November,” he said. “We’re in the final phases of the building process, putting in electrical, plumbing, heating, air into the structure. We expect the fabrication equipment to arrive in the middle of January.”

The new facility might be just up the road from QSI, Pearce said, but the two businesses are separate ventures.

“The concept of starting a column fabrication plant, we at QSI did due diligence on a couple years ago and the time was right to start a manufacturing plant,” he said. “It just coincided with the availability of my son who’s had a desire to get into the post-frame industry, and everything just came together I guess to start the plan here this year.”

Midwest Columns will be a supplier to QSI, but also will supply to other companies in the region, Pearce said.

“Certainly a primary customer will be Quality Structures, but we’re looking forward to selling columns throughout the Midwest,” he said. “It’s basically a state-of-the-art manufacturing facility that’s got the latest column fabrication equipment. We built the building with the intent of expanding from one to two production lines and expect to hire between three to 12 people [during that expansion].”

It’s not very often a new business comes to town, Pearce said, so the new manufacturing facility will help the economy in Richmond.

“From a tax standpoint, a portion of all our sales tax [helps local residents],” he said. “The greatest benefit is the addition of 10 to 12 jobs over the next 12 months and typically we prefer to hire from the local area and that’s a plus. That’s 10 to 12 people who will buy gas and eat lunch and that helps subsidiary businesses as well.”

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