A local fireworks distribution company, Spirit of 76, is set to take over one of the empty properties that heating and cooling company Nordyne vacated last summer.
Spirit of 76 headquarters are at the Midway truck stop just off Interstate 70. The family owned company has a distribution plant in Pennsylvania.
The Boonville location, which is about 150,000 square feet, will be its second in mid-Missouri.
“This building (in Boonville) was attractive to us because it’s a new building and it’s the right size. There’s not a lot of buildings of this size that are available in central Missouri,” said John Bechtold, the owner of the company. “We really had a limited storage capacity, so we’re greatly increasing our storage ability.”
Nordyne closed the Boonville factory last June, laying off more than 100 employees. Nordyne also closed a factory in Poplar Bluff and the Boonville distribution center.
While Spirit of 76 will bring about 15 new jobs to Boonville – which is about the same number of jobs the distribution center boasted when Nordyne occupied the space – Boonville economic developer Jim Gan believes that the jobs are only a small portion of what the new business has to offer economically.
“It’s also a lot about regaining the use of the building into its best economic use as well as giving a little bit of Boonville’s confidence back.” Gan said. “Some positive things are happening and this is just the first of what we believe are going to be many things as we regain our place in manufacturing.”
Boonville has been affected by other layoffs and plant closings. In 2012, Hostess and Indeeco closed their doors, leaving about 150 people looking for work.
“All the closures that we’ve had have been made by someone in New York and we’re a number on a page,” Gan said. “(Spirit of 76) is a family with long roots in the area and they want their business to expand and grow, we want to support them in that.”
“The decisions are made in Midway, not New York City.”
Spirit of 76 is already well underway with the move-in process, and Bechtold hopes to be up and running in a month or so.