When you find your physical business property stuffed to full capacity and appear to be ‘landlocked’, what options do you have? Start looking for new locations? Add a second shift? Do nothing and stop your business growth? All these options come with risk, cost, possible reward, or maybe disaster.
Yet, at Merit Tool there was another remote possibility. The town of Eaton owned an adjoining property with an 800 sq. ft. building built in 1936 which had previously served at various points in time as the town offices, Eaton Police department, volunteer ambulance service, and more recently used for storage.
I had spoken with town board representatives about the property, and although they were interested in disposing of the property to get it into private hands and onto the property tax rolls, a process didn’t exist outside of a complicated plan which also cast doubt on the ability for the town to assure proper use of the property. So the matter was tabled.
Fortunately for Merit Tool, Brad Bookout and Bill Walters with East Central Indiana Regional Planning District were able to work with the Town of Eaton to navigate the requirements for the distribution of the property. Merit Tool acquired the property in November of 2015 and has made necessary improvements since to be able to utilize the property.
That small 800 sq. ft. building provided ample space to move inventory and shipping/receiving operations and freed up space in the company’s manufacturing area to add a new Okuma M560V Vertical Machining Center. In addition, the new property provided additional parking and space to expand the manufacturing space in the future.
This is a true win-win for Merit Tool and the Town of Eaton. Merit Tool was able to expand its operation, enabling the hiring of additional personnel. The Town of Eaton was able to add a property onto the property tax rolls and bring a dormant uptown building back into use. Sweet!