It’s official — MAC Trailer purchased the old Fontaine facility on Fairchild Avenue last week and they are already busy working to get their Kent operations up and running asap.
The arrival of MAC Trailer in Kent is a great example how the City can help connect interested buyers and willing sellers. In this case, Dan Smith, the City’s Economic Development Director, had an opportunity to hear a presentation on the success of this rapidly growing truck manufacturing company out of Alliance Ohio and he immediately thought of the vacant Fontaine Trailer manufacturing site on Fairchild Avenue as an expansion opportunity.
The Fontaine property had been looked at by a tire reclaiming/recycling company last year but it turned out to be a less than ideal fit given the close proximity of the property to residential neighborhoods and the company’s plans to store tires in piles outside of the building.
When Dan heard about MAC Trailer’s growth plans, he went to work pitching Kent to the MAC Trailer folks and contacting the property owners about this prospective buyer.
I’d like to say everything was smooth sailing, but if we’ve learned anything from our development deals, we’ve learned that nothing is easy — especially the really good stuff.
So like any real estate transaction there was a fair amount of negotiations going back and forth that had us on pins and needles for weeks. The City did whatever we could, including lining up local and state tax breaks for MAC Trailer to help the deal hit their financial requirements but it still came down to the wire before we finally heard on Friday that the deal was done.
MAC Trailer is a great company, and they’re a great fit for the Fairchild property, so there was a lot of fist pumping and high fives going around the office on Friday. Take a look at MAC’s employment projections and I think you’ll see why Dan was doing the robot dance in the conference room:
1ST YEAR EMPLOYMENT NUMBERS
•OFFICE WORKERS – 10
•SALES – 1
•ENGINEERS – 4
•MANAGEMENT – 2
•SUPERVISORS – 5
•SHOP PERSONNEL – 106
•TOTAL – 128
2ND YEAR EMPLOYMENT NUMBERS
•OFFICE WORKERS – 12
•SALES – 2
•ENGINEERS – 5
•MANAGEMENT – 3
•SUPERVISORS – 7
•SHOP PERSONNEL – 217
•TOTAL – 246
MAC Trailer is a great example of focusing on helping a local company grow rather than trying to woo companies from out of state to make Kent their home away from home. I’m not opposed to wooing out of staters but when you look at what it takes these days to out-compete all of the other communities that are trying to woo that same company, it seems to us that we stand a much better chance at having success with companies that are already here but are growing too fast to fit in their current buildings. We love those companies and MAC Trailer shows why.