By Debbie Hall
The lack of a readily available building prompted a local company to relocate to an adjoining locality.
Dale Puckett, chairman of Patrick County’s Economic Development Authority, said officials negotiated with Thomas Industrial Fabrication to keep the company in the county.
“They needed a facility immediately,” Puckett said. “We didn’t have a building and, in the end, we lost them because we did not have a building.”
A blast rocked the company’s local facility in July 25, 2018, injuring three people. Other employees were either not in the shop area or out to lunch at the time, according to previous reports.
The employees were treated and released.
A preliminary damage estimate was $250,000, according to previous reports.
The company has been operating out of leased space in the Woolwine area since then.
Because there is not an available existing structure in Patrick County that would meet their criteria, the EDA presented the company with an option for a new facility to both meet their needs and allow for possible future expansion.
The EDA estimated it would cost them $1.5 million to build a new facility that would be located at either an existing pad site in the Rich Creek Corporate Park in Stuart or at a location in Woolwine, a release from the EDA stated.
The company would have had an option to purchase the new construction, the release stated.
“Unfortunately, relocating to an existing structure available in Floyd County was not only more feasible from a financial standpoint, but also expedited the time frame of moving operations to a permanent location,” according to a release.
The company recently announced it will move its operations and 28 employees, earning an average annual salary of $50,000 per year, from Woolwine by the end of the summer and begin its operations in a more than 27,000-square-foot property at 296 Commerce Center Drive NE, in Floyd.
The Floyd County EDA purchased that property in December for $825,000. The company purchased the property from them for $735,000, according to the release.
“The fact that we didn’t have any where for them to go immediately is the reason we lost them,” Puckett said.
John Paul Thomas, who owns the company with his wife, Kelly, said another attraction in the relocation effort Is a vocational welding program in Floyd schools.
Patrick Schools Superintendent Bill Sroufe said a welding program is Patrick schools will begin in the next school year.