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Watson Metal starts $5M expansion in Republic

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Watson Metal Masters Inc. is expanding its 2-year-old manufacturing plant in Republic to the tune of $4.8 million – equal to its investment when the stainless steel tank manufacturer relocated from Nixa.

In Phase I of a six-phase plan, the company spent $4.7 million in mid-2014 to build in the Brookline Business Park, 6800 W. Stainless Way. When the company moved, it had 47 employees.

Owner Bill Schahuber said the second phase of growth is expected to add 40 jobs upon completion in August. The company currently has around 70 employees.

“We have seen an increase in our business of nearly 50 percent since moving into our new facility,” Schahuber said in a news release, declining to disclose production volumes or revenues. “This expansion will allow us to add new, top-of-the-line (computer numerical control) equipment.”

Officials with Rich Kramer Construction broke ground last month on the project, which Schahuber said would double Watson Metal’s manufacturing floor space to 47,000 square feet and add a maintenance shop and under-roof storage.

With its design and fabrication of steel tanks and vessels for the international food and beverage, health and beauty, and pharmaceutical industries, the capital investment plans include acquisitions of high-production, automated machinery, six overhead bridge cranes for handling product and a 400-ton, 14-foot press brake, the release said.

The industrial park – which has been in the making for almost a decade near James River Freeway and State Highway MM – is home to Red Monkey Foods’ headquarters, an Ashley Furniture HomeStore warehouse and a new distribution facility and warehouse for Everything Kitchens Inc.

Web Producer Geoff Pickle contributed.

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