Our metal fabricating company outgrew our metal fab shop three times in six years so when we relocated to Reading, Pennsylvania, we wanted it to be our last move. Ten years and 120 lease payments (and four grandchildren!) later, we’ve grown exponentially by any metric but haven’t outgrown our manufacturing facility – by design. When we realized it was our 10th anniversary in the same building, I remembered the first time we visited and why this building seemed like the perfect place to setup the metal shop in Reading.
We intended to grow. Though we were a modest, family-owned metal parts manufacturer at the time, our business plan called for investing in new equipment, hiring skilled metalworkers, and storing large amounts of inventory and sheet metal on-site.
The building has 22-foot high ceilings so we knew it would accommodate our grandest vision for equipment acquisition and that we could add warehouse racks as needed, and then keep going up higher. All-new electrical service working with 110V, 220V and 440V was in place and everything was already state-of-the-art and up to code with a sprinkler system, security system, and more. Even better, industrial real estate in Reading, Pennsylvania in 2012 was very available. We’d left a building paying $6.00 per square foot and were able to cut the rent to $2.00 per square foot with a long-term lease that’s still helping us finance our growth to this day.
At 44,000 square feet, it was more space than we needed at the time but I’m pleased to report we’ve just about filled it up with new equipment such as a press brake, laser cutters, welding stations, a metal finishing sander, CNC machining center, and more. Ten years ago, we had to outsource a fair amount of metal cutting and fabrication work but today we can offer a complete range of turnkey manufacturing services with nearly everything done in-house from product design and custom metal fabrication through assembly, packaging, and delivery.
The building itself offers everything we need as a metals manufacturing company but it’s the Reading, Pennsylvania location that makes it work as a business. Reading has a proud history as an industrial center so it has a built-in infrastructure of companies that understand and serve industry, and a labor force with sheet metal fabrication, welding, and machining skills – and a willingness to learn a trade, show up for work and get the job done. The convenient location near I-78, I-81, I-76 and I-476 has helped attract new business from the Midwest, South, and New England.
I also will never forget how the Greater Reading Economic Partnership helped connect us with our new manufacturing neighbors and helped with recruiting experienced metal fabricators. They made the transition smooth and comfortable and I’d encourage anyone considering a move to contact the GREP for assistance here.
After 10 years, we’re happy to call Reading, Pa. home and look forward to 10 more years of growth in the same building.
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