Flint & Walling to expand
By Sherry Slater | The Journal Gazette
Flint & Walling Inc. is investing more than $5 million to buy, renovate and equip a vacant factory as it moves an engine production line from Mexico to Kendallville.
The 100,000-square-foot operation at 800 W. Mitchell St. will employ almost 40, bringing the company's workforce to about 215 in the city.
Flint & Walling also builds residential well pumps at 95 N. Oak St., Kendallville.
The Noble County manufacturer is part of Louisville-based parent company Zoeller Co. The new motors, which will be a fraction of 1 horsepower, will be shipped to Louisville for use in residential sump pumps sold under the Zoeller brand name.
Eric Rimmel, Flint & Walling's president, said the decision to move production in-house will allow the company to control its destiny and improve product quality.
Zoeller had previously bought sump pump engines from General Electric, which moved its engine production to Mexico some years ago.
Flint & Walling's move has been in the works for about two years. The company bought a former Essex wire plant a year ago and has installed CNC – or computer numerical controlled – mills and lathes, motor manufacturing equipment, material handling equipment and inspection equipment in recent months.
Jobs being created are mostly production but include maintenance, supervision and shipping, Rimmel said.
Hourly wages are expected to range from $18 to $23, depending on the position and the worker's experience.
The company, which was founded in 1866, will receive more than $250,000 in tax abatements from city officials, Rimmel said, adding his appreciation for the support of Mayor SuzAnne Handshoe and the community.
Flint & Walling will host a grand opening ceremony next week for media and invited dignitaries. Lynnette Leamon, executive director of the Kendallville Area Chamber of Commerce, has extended an invitation to Gov. Eric Holcomb but hasn't received a reply.
The investment is part of a positive trend that extends well beyond Kendallville and Noble County, Leamon and Rimmel said. They hope more manufacturers follow suit and return production to the U.S.