By ROXANN MILLER
8:32 PM EST, February 15, 2013
A local Greencastle business is doubling the size of its operations by moving to a new 12,000-square-foot facility in Antrim Commons Business Park this summer.
Gate 7 Ltd., a company based in Newcastle, England, is moving from its 6,500-square-foot building at 145 Pine Drive, Greencastle, to a state-of-the-art facility on Armada Drive in Greencastle.
“We are pleased to expand our operations in the United States as a result of our continued growth,” company vice president John Reay said.
The company manufactures safety decals and nameplates for off road equipment, including cranes, excavators and dump trucks.
“We knew this was probably only going to serve our needs for five years. To be honest it probably only served us three and a half years. We’re cramped right now,” Reay said, referring to the company’s current location.
The lease on the Pine Drive facility expires at the end of June, and Reay hopes to be in the new building by the end of June or early July.
The move was necessary because the 14-member team had outgrown the space, he said.
While the move won’t initially add to his workforce, he plans to add five more employees in the next few years.
The new building will have 12,000 square feet, but Reay said Gate 7 will only need 8,000 square feet. So, Gate 7 will lease the remaining 4,000 square feet.
Reay said they don’t have a tenant for that space yet.
In addition, there is another 3,000 square feet that Gate 7 can add to the back of the building for future expansion.
Initially Gate 7 made safety decals for Grove Manufacturing, based in Sunderland, England, until Grove closed that plant in 1999, Reay said.
Then, Gate 7 moved to the U.S. and took over Grove’s domestic business working out of one of Grove’s buildings.
In 2008, Gate 7 moved into its own location on Pine Drive.
“We took an initial hit with the recession in 2009. Since then it’s been excellent. In 2011 we doubled our 2009 sales. And last year, we doubled our 2010 sales,” Reay said.
While the company has picked up new customers, its main customers are still Manitowoc (formerly Grove), Volvo, and JCB (Georgia).
The relationship between a small business such as Gate 7 and big businesses such as Manitowoc and Volvo is what makes a strong economy, said L. Michael Ross, president, Franklin County Area Development Corporation.
“It’s nice to see that because of those big guys (Manitowoc and Volvo) that they (Gate 7) are going to stay here,” Ross said.
While Ross said small business is vital to the economy, he added, “if you don’t have big businesses - you don’t have small businesses.”
“Gate 7 would not exist and would not be growing here if we did not have the big guys,” Ross said. “It’s not to, in any way, diminish the role of Gate 7, but I sometimes think we forget the role of the big guys and their role in fostering the growth of the small guys.”
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