Bob Mitchell: 2016 brings good news for city, county

Wednesday, January 20, 2016

There is good news for Cassville for the New Year, as a deal consummated by three major companies includes a vacant manufacturing plant here.

The former Alvey and Thorco plant on Sale Barn Road is part of a 2 million-square-foot, seven-property portfolio purchased from a large global manufacturing firm. Properties are located in Missouri and Arkansas, formerly owned by the Marmon Company.

A joint venture of New Mill Capital Holdings of New York, Crossland Construction of Columbus, Kan., and Infinity Asset Solutions of Concord, Ontario, Canada, became part of the new group, closing Dec. 18.

Included in the portfolio are properties in Butler, Lamar and Nevada in Missouri, plus those in Paragould and Piggott in Arkansas. Those in Lamar and Paragould have been leased back on a long-term basis. There was not a disclosed price in the transaction.

Working with towns

Information from the investor group said they would begin "working with the municipalities in order to identify logical users and put together a package of competitive incentives to help employment at the sites."

Further, the group stated "These are well-built plants and we have the right people in place to execute on our plan. As we begin marketing these properties, we're confident that prospective tenants will see the value and functionality of these plants."

Built in 1980

The 40,000-square-foot building in Cassville was constructed in 1980 for St. Louis-based Alvey Inc., a conveyor manufacturer. Land for the location was purchased from Gary Keen and Johnny Eggleston.

Alvey operated in the building, furnishing conveyor systems for warehouse operations throughout the Midwest for three years.

Sale of the company to an out-of-state firm resulted in a move to Ohio.

Thorco came to town

Thorco Manufacturing, headquartered in Lamar, made an inquiry about the building and later located here in 1994. The firm was part of the Marmon Co., a worldwide manufacturer. This particular operation made shelving for Walmart.

Thorco operated the plant six years, closing operations here in 2000.

The building had been used during this period of closing by Justin Boot Co. for storage.

IDC involvement

During operations of the two firms in the structure, the Cassville Industrial Development Corp. had provided a total of $75,000 for land purchase and later county property tax incentives.

The initial land purchase was raised by investments in the community through PACE and the IDC.

Between the two firms, they had employed between 100 and 200 persons during their tenure here.

New owners excited

"We are excited about the opportunity that is presented to us with the acquisition of these properties," said Tom Murray, managing director at New Mill Capital. "We will be working closely with Crossland, Infinity and all local stakeholders in order to try and bring quality jobs back to these properties. These buildings are very flexible and would fit a variety of uses, and all are proximate to transportation networks and a strong labor force. We have a solid team and expected to have a successful outcome."

Past industry

At least four of Cassville's past industrial payroll acquisitions have come our way in a manner that was really unexpected.

The first Wells Aluminum expansion from Monett to Cassville resulted in attorney E.L. Monroe, serving on that board.

Next, Vaisey-Bristol Shoe Co., making an expansion was made known here during friends having a beer at a Monett tavern.

Information regarding Fasco's pending expansion from Ozark came to Cassville via a company secretary relaying this information to her parents and subsequently to the IDC.

Justin Boot Co., acquiring Jumping-Jacks after the latter departed Cassville, was opened by a Kansas City-area broker who contacted the IDC.

Alvey Conveyors hired an engineering firm to locate a site that had previous information about Cassville and opened the search process.

Contacts important

It has always been important, in many ways of thinking, that contacts are always out there, with an important part of success being channeling this type information into the right position and following through with any resource that might be available.

Think of it this way, Cassville people are like no other human beings on earth. There are those who, in their everyday life, come in contact with someone who might be a valuable source of information or have a desire to do business in a good small town with the resources that surround this neck of the woods.

Sometimes, even the strongest native might overlook our surroundings as an asset toward becoming a future asset.

In this vein, keep your ears at the alert, there isn't any telling what information might come down the pike in the future that could be of huge benefit to the Cassville community and Barry County.

Bob Mitchell is the former editor and publisher of the Cassville Democrat.