Reed City Group pursuing $8-million expansion project

Reed City Group, the plastic injection molding firm on Church Avenue, is planning an ambitious, $8-million expansion project. (Pioneer photo/Tim Rath)

REED CITY — Reed City Group, the plastic injection molding firm on Church Avenue, is planning an ambitious, $8-million expansion project into the 80,000-square-foot vacant building across the street.

As part of the project, the company plans converting a portion of South Savidge Street — currently used as both an access point for the Osceola County Animal Shelter as well as an employee parking lot for RCG — into an expanded lot. Representatives of the firm say the growth is necessary, especially considering the expansion is expected to lead to the creation of 30 jobs at RCG.

Reed City Group, formerly known as Reed City Tool, was founded in 1959. It was acquired two years ago from Rod Weck and Fred Youngs by Argosy Private Equity and Stone River Capital Partners. John Barnett, the company’s current president/CEO, said at the time of the purchase, the plan was “always” to expand into the building across the street, known as the former Nabco facility.

In the 18 months, Barnett said, the RCG plans to tear down about 56,000 square feet of the vacant building and renovate the rest. Doing so will allow RCG, currently known as an auto parts manufacturer, to expand into the lucrative field of producing medical equipment, he added.

“I want to make it state-of-the-art. I want to deliver a highly competitive area for our people to work and do new things,” Barnett said. “We’re trying to get into different areas and continue to grow. I think we have the quality and experience here to do that.”

Costs for building and equipment in the new facility are expected to top $8.7 million, the company estimates, and 30 new, full-time jobs will be created over 3 to 5 years. Barnett added that since the acquisition, more than $5 million has been invested into RCG and the company has expanded its roster by 20 full-time positions, now totaling more than 100 staffers.

RCG Controller Trevor Mund said some of the impetus to make the investment comes from an agreement the company made with Reed City, which went into effect in 2016, establishing the company as a “renaissance zone.” The designation — made to help the company stay in business following the Great Recession of 2008 — exempted RCG from paying personal property taxes to the city for a time, saving it hundreds of thousands of dollars.

Reed City Manager Ron Howell said the company’s plans have drawn the ire of animal shelter staffers, who say Savidge has been historically used as an access to the shelter. The shelter is also accessible via East Lincoln Avenue, however, according to Howell, visitors most frequently come to the shelter through Savidge.

Mund said the company understands the position of the shelter and does not mean to put them out. In weeks and months to come, he said, he intends to meet with staffers in order to help ease the transition by possibly implementing new signage and working on an alternate route. He added that RCG previously repaved Savidge on its own dime, which indirectly assisted the shelter.

“We don’t have enough parking as it is. Our proposal is for employee safety, first and foremost,” Mund said. “I know the concern for them is ease of use, but I think with anything … you need to be receptive to change.”

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Posted by Tim Rath

Tim is the Pioneer's associate editor. He also coordinates the Family & Friends, Religion and Veterans pages. He can be reached by phone at (231) 592-8386 or by e-mail at trath@pioneergroup.com.

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