FRAZEYSBURG — Ridge Corp. has moved to a new Frazeysburg location, which will bring 40 to 50 skilled jobs into the area.
The corporation, which produces lining systems for the trailer and truck industry, purchased an old Longaberger building on15.54 acres of land along Raiders Road for $1.4 million to expand its manufacturing endeavors.
The deal might be recent, but Pataskala-based Ridge Corp. has already moved essential pieces of equipment into the building and has even begun to manufacture parts. It also is looking to increase its workforce.
According to Ridge Corp. President Gary Grandominico, the manufacturing plant will be looking to hire about 12 employees right away and will eventually hire 40 to 50 employees in the next three to four years. The positions will range from management to general labor. Although Grandominico would not confirm possible salaries, the Ohio Tax Authority verified $1 million of additional annual payroll would be generated through the positions. The jobs come at a pivotal time for Muskingum County, which has an unemployment rate of 8.9 percent, 1.4 percent higher than Ohio’s statewide average.
Grandominico said that, while the corporation had been looking for a site for the new plant Kentucky, Michigan and Indiana for about one year, the Frazeysburg location was picked for the building and the available labor.
“We’re not so much keyed into the value of the real estate, but the value of the labor force we can get in this area, and the quality of the building, and the fact that the building is designed for manufacturing,” he said.
The labor market of Muskingum County, which was such a draw for Ridge Corp., will be receiving some assistance from the Zanesville-Muskingum County Port Authority. The Port Authority will be using part of the $50,000 Muskingum County Targeted Manufacturing Training Incentive Program to help train Ridge Corp. hires and ensure a skilled labor force is in place when Ridge Corp. is ready for it.
“We are thrilled to have Ridge Corp. investing and creating jobs in Muskingum County,” Port Authority Executive Director Mike Jacoby said. “Ridge Corp. is an innovative and growing company — exactly the type of company we want to see coming to the area. … Finding skilled workers is critical to their success.”
The Ohio Tax Credit Authority also is helping Ridge Corp. close the deal by approving a 35 percent, six-year Job Creation Tax Credit for this project.
“(County and state officials) have been very helpful and cooperative,” Grandominico said. “We’re very excited.”
With this kind of assistance and training, Grandominico hopes to expand the manufacturing of new products such as aerodynamic devices for trailers.
“We’re going to pretty much mirror what we’re doing at our other locations, and develop new products and serve customers with our new materials,” he said.
In other locations, such as the Pataskala plant, Ridge Corp. has grown rapidly, moving from a 2,000-square-foot location to a 120,000-square-plant in five years. Grandominico predicts the same kind of growth for Muskingum County.
“It’s just going to continue to grow,” he said.