Seldom has a newcomer to Cassville acted to benefit the community as did a recent resident who left us. Don Row was a gruff industrialist who came here when an opportunity existed to expand his manufacturing of parts for a major machinery company. He had been in a similar operation in Grandview for a number of years.
Following a trip to Table Rock Lake, he fell in love with the area and acquired an existing manufacturing facility on West 11th Street in Cassville. At the time he was renting the building that started as a modular home construction site and was later the first home for Wells Aluminum in Cassville. The property had been acquired by the Cassville Industrial Development Corp.
It was a simple construction facility with corrugated metal sides and roof, but it was just what Row wanted for his R&W Machine Shop.
One day, in his usual manner, he called and informed the IDC that he was interested in buying the property he had been renting for sometime. Bill Easley and I went to the site, and Row informed us of the price he was going to pay for the property.
Bill and I looked at each other with considerable astonishment and told him only that we would have to take the offer to the board of directors for a final decision, but that we thought the sale could well be finalized.
When we walked out of the building we both took a deep breath, hoping the offered price would hold true.
Now, the price offered for the property doesn't matter at this point, it was the intentions of Row, and just the way he wanted to do business.
After consulting with the board, we informed Row that the price was acceptable and he then virtually dictated his own terms on a payout.
Like stated before, the price of the sale wasn't all that important, what was interesting is the fact that the entire IDC realized it was an inflated price over what we had in the building. The really important fact was realizing what we could do with that kind of money in our bank account.
It wasn't long after disposing of that 11th Street property that the IDC had the opportunity to negotiate with two other firms in their coming to Cassville. In each instance incentives that are a necessity in this type acquisition were at hand in our IDC account and the two firms actually came to Cassville.
In one case, it was an expansion, and the other was acquiring the manufacturing building of a firm that had left Cassville.
Regardless of the type operations involved, payrolls were either expanded or refilled as a result of having the funds. There was no requirement this time for the IDC to hit the business people of Cassville for money to execute an industry expansion.
Sometime later in the existence of R&W Manufacturing, in a conversation with Row, he was asked about the purchase price he had settled upon for that property, which had actually acquired some age since first constructed. The IDC admitted to him that a lesser price would probably have acquired the property for him.
His comment was typically Don Row, it went something like this, "Cassville has been a good home for me and it was my idea to do something for the community." He further stated that going through the IDC was the logical place for some added funds.
Don Row was one of those individuals who come along very seldom for a small town. He loved his farm east of Cassville, which was recently sold when his health had virtually left him.
His garden spot was a source for many people to acquire fruits and vegetables.
A lone complaint I ever heard from Don Row was that the City of Cassville had prohibited him from selling the products of his farm at a Main Street location, which he had acquired specifically for the purpose of a vegetable and fruit stand.
Row was a unique individual that came from the city after a long career in heavy industry, found another niche in his trade in Barry County and lived the remainder of his life here.
Actually, he remained here, his final resting place is in Washburn Prairie Cemetery in a plot he purchased for that facility's expansion.
As this is being written, the area has been blessed with up to three inches of rainfall and cooler weather, both of which are entirely welcome as the first of Autumn arrived last Sunday.