Out of the ashes of an August fire, Duo-Form of Michigan Inc., a maker of shower pans, tubs and surrounds for the recreational vehicle and manufactured housing industries, plans to rebuild its Edwardsburg, Mich., thermoforming plant.
A 68,000-square-foot facility will replace the 35,000-square-foot plant destroyed by a fire caused by a short-circuit in a motor, said General Manager Gene Gamber.
Construction could begin within a few weeks, weather permitting, and would be finished within seven months at a total cost of about $1.7 million, Gamber said.
``We're really enthusiastic about it,'' he said. ``It will give us the opportunity to be more efficient.''
The fire destroyed the building and six of eight thermoforming machines, for a combined loss of $3.8 million, Gamber said.
Since then, the plant's 70 employees have been operating the two remaining machines 24 hours a day, seven days a week to fill 60 percent of the company's total orders. Duo-Form has been subcontracting the remaining work to other thermoforming companies, Gamber said.
In the meantime, Duo-Form's parent company, Kevco Inc. of Fort Worth, Texas, a supplier to the manufactured housing and RV industries, has applied to Ontwa Township for tax-exempt status for the new facility.
If approved, the exemption would reduce the company's property taxes for the new building by 50 percent for about 12 years, said Wayne Hardin, Ontwa Township supervisor.
Hardin said the application process is in the preliminary stages, but he is optimistic that it will be approved.
``They've been real good to us,'' he said, pointing out that Duo-Form has always employed local people rather than bringing in out-of-towners. ``They are a super outfit,'' he said.