MINERAL WELLS -A start-up company seeking to fill the void of a defunct truck bed manufacturer has outgrown its space and plans to triple in size.
Conley Fabrication announced plans this week to build a new 45,000-square-foot facility on a 25-acre tract of land just outside Mineral Wells.
"I am envisioning a facility that will be state of the art," said Roger Conley, company founder.
Conley Fabrication founder Roger Conley and his son Jeff, and Wood County Economic Development executive director Cam Huffman, stand on the site of their soon-to-be-built 45,000-square-foot facility and in front of one of the company’s recently completed truck beds. Conley Fabrication announced plans this week to build a new facility on a 25-acre tract of land just outside Mineral Wells. The $1.5 million project may attract other ventures. (Photo by Jody Murphy)
Roger and his son Jeff started Conley Fabrication in 2010, building it from the ashes of the Benson International Corp., which closed a year earlier. The Conleys, who have more than 45 years of work and sales experience with the former Benson company, took a handful of employees and15,000 square feet in the former Benson plant and grew their business.
When the Conley's started the company, they did so in economically tough times, especially in the trucking industry.
"We had to prove to everybody that we were going to be viable," Conley said.
Conley said there is lots of work available, but the company was constrained by limited space. The former Benson site was "starter space" Conley knew they would outgrow.
"It did what it was intended to do," he said.
The new facility will be 45,000 square feet and built so that it can be expanded as the company grows. The new building will have four production lines, including three service bays with pits, a paint booth and a wash box, Conley said.
The fabrication company has 10 employees in the shop. When the new building is complete, the workforce will double and will be capable of employing 50 people, he said.
The new facility will cost about $1.5 million for the building and contents, Conley said. He estimated the new space would be operational in 18 months.
Conley Fabrication purchased the 25 acres of property along W.Va. 14 off Interstate 77 from Buck Harless, who bought it several years ago for a proposed expansion of Benson International.
The property has been vacant for several years. There's a brick house and a barn that sits on it.
Conley said the house will be converted to offices and a parts department. The barn will likely be the site of the new building.
Conley said the fabrication plant will take up about 10 acres. The remaining 15 acres will be for sale in the hopes of creating an industrial park. The project is being supported by the West Virginia Development Office, the Wood County Economic Development Authority and the West Virginia Division of Highways.
"We are fortunate to have the county and the state," Conley said.
Cam Huffman, executive director of the Wood County Economic Development Authority, said the development authority and the state will work with Conley to market the available property. With the available road frontage and easy access to Interstate 77, the site could be very attractive to potential manufacturers, Huffman said.
Huffman said officials will also look to partner companion companies with Conley's new headquarters.
"We'll look to find businesses that work with Conley," he said.
Conley said one of his company's vendors has already expressed interest in space. Officials are working with the Division of Highways for an access road to the property off the four-lane portion of W.Va. 14 across from the turnoff to Coldwater Creek. Huffman said funding from the state Industrial Road Fund will build a road from W.Va. 14 into the property. Huffman said once they get the figures from the highways department, he will go to the Wood County Commission for a resolution seeking approval for the project.