MECHANICSBURG – After successfully transforming the former IGA store in Milford Center into the manufacturing headquarters of Advanced Technology Products (ATP) in 1992, the company’s owners are hoping for similar results with their newest undertaking – a $500,000 project to turn the former Chet’s/Preston’s IGA store in Mechanicsburg into a functioning warehouse.
Last week, the company, which makes plastic tubing for automotive as well as robotics and automation, closed on the 18,952-square-foot building located at 282 E. Sandusky St., about 10 miles south of ATP’s manufacturing facility at 12740 state Route 4 in Milford Center.
James McCoy, who co-owns ATP with Duane Campbell and Steve DeWine, said over the past few years the company debated whether to expand at its current location or open an additional facility elsewhere. After looking at a couple sites, the Mechanicsburg location, just outside village limits in Goshen Township, possessed everything the company was looking for in a new facility.
“We chose this site because it’s close to our existing facility, and it’s easily expandable,” McCoy said. “The amount of property (two acres) that is here will allow us to expand in the front or the rear of the building.”
Campbell added, “(The location) gives us access to new and additional labor force and, quite frankly, Mechanicsburg was very open to us coming here.”
With demand for their products on the rise not only in the United States, but also worldwide, ATP’s recent success in the marketplace (customers include the likes of Honda, KTH, Bridgestone and Keurig) led to the need for an additional facility.
“We are a global company that exports to 26 different countries and distributes nationwide,” Campbell said. “Over the last six years, the business has grown over 60 percent. Right now we are pretty crammed in the space we do have.
“We are also expanding on the manufacturing side as well with new equipment,” he added.
As of now, the company has no plans to move manufacturing from Milford Center to the Mechanicsburg location.
“It’s just going to be a distribution center where we will ship and receive out of for two shifts a day,” McCoy said, adding there’s a possibility the site could take on production in the future.
To get the site up and running, several renovations must take place first. McCoy is hoping to have the warehouse functional within 90 days.
“The biggest part of the renovation is the dock,” he said. “Other than that, we are simply going to try to utilize the maximum amount of space by opening it up as much as we can.”
To begin with, the new location won’t involve job creation as the company will be transferring six to eight employees from Milford Center to Mechanicsburg, but Campbell encouraged those interested in working for the company to apply in person at the Milford Center facility.
“We are always looking for more help,” he said.
City of Urbana Economic Development Coordinator Marcia Bailey said ATP’s expansion into Mechanicsburg will not only help the local economy, but could help spearhead a movement in which other companies begin to see the benefits of locating to southeast Champaign County because of its proximity to state Routes 29 and 4, as well as Interstate 70.
“With ATP starting the process, I’m hoping it will give others the thought process that this area is sitting in a great spot,” Bailey said. “Also, the retail shops and gas stations in Mechanicsburg will hopefully benefit from having more employees here.”
Mechanicsburg and Goshen Township officials were both in support of ATP’s purchase of the former IGA store.
The Goshen Township Board of Zoning Appeals signed off on the project earlier this month by approving a conditional use permit for light industrial use at the site, which is zoned for commercial use only.
Though only a small portion of the ATP property lies within village limits, Mayor Greg Kimball said the deal is “a win for everybody,” including Mechanicsburg, which gains an additional water customer.
“We are glad they are here,” he said. “It’s going to be good for us and good for the township. It’s a clean, established and growing company. I don’t think we can ask for anything more.”