Jim Miller says his business, Miller Precision Industries, started out as a small, one man operation. Now, the business has more than 80 employees and a 150,000 square foot building to grow into.
"It sort of started out in a garage type deal and expanded over the years, and to date we're very fortunate to have grown," said Miller, who credited the quality work from employees for the businesses success.
Employees at MPI machine parts for companies such as Hobart Food Equipment The company recently bought the old Kongsberg-Teleflex plant in Van Wert. The building has been vacant since the automotive supplier moved production to Mexico nearly four years ago. More than 100 jobs were lost.
City council president Gary Corcoran is excited to have a new business move in-- especially one where the owners live just 15 miles away in Ottoville.
"These are the type of individuals you want to have in your community. Their operation won't go oversees. They are locally born and locally located, and they're employing local people," said Corcoran.
The city provided loans and incentives for Miller to buy the space. In return, Miller must create at least five new jobs.
"Business is increasing, and we're looking to expand in the future here," said Miller.
Those weren't words often heard in Van Wert a few years ago. The community was hit hard during the economic downturn. However, Mayor Don Farmer says the outlook is improving.
"There's been approximately nine percent growth in income tax. We're seeing jobs coming slowly," said Farmer.
A few repairs and renovations are now being made. Lines will soon be moved from St. Marys and the building Miller owns right next door in Van Wert to the new location. The shop is expected to be up and running by late September.