VANDALIA — When Superior Abrasives began looking for a location to expand, its President, Lynne Henson, wanted to stay close enough to keep all of its employees in the company family.
On Tuesday, Henson and the 85 employees of the company celebrated the grand opening of its new 100,000 square foot manufacturing facility at Stonequarry Crossings.
The company moved from its facilities in Harrison Township when after realizing that expansion at that location was impractical. The company, which was founded in Dayton over 50 years ago, wanted to stay in the area for one main reason – to keep its employees.
“We were looking at different options, but we decided that families are so important to our company and the root of our group,” said Henson. “We knew it would be difficult to keep employees if we moved out of the community. We kept 100 percent of our employees in this move and that’s what we were wanting to do.”
The construction wasn’t without some hiccups. The large windows were delayed which essentially put the project on hold for nearly four months. Then, once the windows were installed, it was discovered the environmental coating on the windows blocked all cell phone signals.
“We couldn’t communicate at all,” said Henson. “We had to go outside to use our phones.”
That problem was fixed after signal extenders were installed by Verizon.
Henson credited the City of Vandalia for their support during the site selection and manufacturing process.
“The Vandalia staff were extremely helpful and helped all the way through the project, including with this ribbon cutting,” said Henson.
Superior’s building is unique in that, along with the large glass panes on the exterior, is also has a design element that creates a large “S.” Dayton’s Bon Builders, led by architect Dana Shoup, designed the building to benefit both the employees and the community as a whole.
“When we started the process, I told Dana that I wanted natural light and ventilation,” said Henson. “We wanted a facility our employees could be proud of.”
Vandalia Mayor Arlene Setzer said that the company achieved both goals.
“It’s so different because when you think of a manufacturing company you think of a square box, but they have taken it a step further,” she said. “They looked at their employees and asked how they could help with their jobs but then went a step further and said they wanted to give the community something of value as well, and they have done that.”
Superior is owned by PFERD Inc., the Unites States subsidiary of Germany’s family-owned August Ruggeberg & Co. PFERD CEO Jorn Bielenberg told the employees that the building was the fulfillment of a promise that he made when Superior Abrasives was acquired in 2012.
“For us its important to have the right people, and we know we have the right people at Superior Abrasives,” said Bielenberg. “We have a good management group and good employees.
Reach Darrell Wacker at 937-684-8983 or on Twitter @VandaliaDrummer.