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10:39:45 AM Thursday, October 21, 2004

MTD to expand plant operations in Martin

Martin Mayor Randy Brun-dige and MTD general manager Steve Baker announced Monday that MTD Consumer Group Inc., the city's largest manufacturer, is strengthening its roots in Martin and the Weakley County community.

MTD is entering into a lease agreement with Cox McCarver Partnership out of Jackson. The project will include construction of a 310,000 square foot expansion to the 50,000 square foot Martin speculative building, which was leased by MTD two years ago. This addition, along with the existing 150,000 square foot building, will give MTD 510,000 square feet for the distribution of lawn and garden equipment. There will be an overhead causeway connecting the manufacturing plant to the new distribution center to convey the finished products over Industrial Park Drive.

With this expansion, MTD will be distributing finished goods from Martin. These consumer products are manufactured at the Martin facility as well as other MTD locations. The new distribution center will be serving customers globally.

The announcement was made at Martin City Hall with members of the Martin Industrial Board, city board and other state and county dignitaries.

Brundige said this is great news for the city of Martin. "MTD is a strong component in our community and this expansion is going to be an asset for our city. MTD will continue to help our local citizens and families providing good, stable jobs," the mayor said.

Brundige added the city has been awarded an industrial infrastructure grant to help MTD with its expansion needs. The application for the Fast Track grant through the state of Tennessee is for a total of $750,000 for infrastructure improvements and job training.

According to Baker, this expansion will play an important role in the growth of the Martin facility and to the company as a whole.

"We have increased our production over the last two years and we are seeing more year-round production of the products we build. We are keeping people employed longer during the year to keep products in our customers' stores. We need the ability to store products at our location versus shipping them to other warehouses located across the United States. This expansion will employ an additional 30 jobs in the distribution center. We would like to thank the mayor and (Martin Economic Development District executive director) Hollie Vowell with helping us with the infrastructure grant application, the Martin Industrial Board with the land lease for the expansion, Weakley County Municipal Electric System with their assistance in the relocation of the power lines and Cox McCarver for building and leasing the facility," Baker said.

Baker also applauded the state of Tennessee, "Special thanks go to the State of Tennessee's Economic and Community Development Program for the infrastructure grant has been approved for this project," Baker added.

Mark Maddox, Tennessee State Representative of the 76th District, was on hand for the announcement. "The recruitment of new industry is vital to that area, but intentions of expansion of an existing industry shows that we're willing and growing because growth is key to living," he said.

According to Vowell, Cox McCarver and MTD have signed a letter of intent to lease 25 acres in Martin's Industrial Park for 15 years.

Senator Roy Herron also gave words of encouragement. "The approval is double good news for the families of those who work at MTD and for those in the city of Martin. I was delighted to work with Mark Maddox and Governor Bredeson's administration on this project. Congratulations to the city of Martin and MTD," Herron said.

"MTD is vital to the well-being of our community. For years MTD has given back to Martin by providing jobs, and by doing so, making our families stronger and our town a better place to live. This expansion is yet another example of MTD showing their dedication to building a strong, thriving community," Vowell said.

According to Tim McCullom, MTD manager of engineering and quality, Phase I of the project will begin within two to three weeks, with the breaking of ground by Cox Construction Co. MTD looks forward to having the additional square footage of Phase I operational with a job creation of 30 openings starting in January of the upcoming year.

MTD is a leading manufacturer of consumer products for the lawn and garden power equipment industry. MTD was founded in 1932 and is headquartered in Cleveland, Ohio. It opened its plant in Martin in 1985.
 

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Good News....

MTD is walking the tightrope of ALL U.S. manufacturers.......they're trying to keep all they can here but, some of the really basic stuff is done overseas. At least they're trying......unlike others that are running to Mexico, China and anywhere else to reduce cost.
 
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