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Don Flatau, general manager of John Deere Reman, is looking to hire up to 55 new employees for the Strafford facility.
Don Flatau, general manager of John Deere Reman, is looking to hire up to 55 new employees for the Strafford facility.

Deere Reman shores up Strafford development

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At the core of the economic downturn are inactivity and a lack of confidence among businesses. An upswing in core activity, on the other hand, is fueling confidence at John Deere Reman-Springfield.

The company has announced it’s building a 275,000 square-foot core-processing facility in Strafford and plans to spend $14 million during the next five years on the project. Don Flatau, general manager of John Deere Reman, said the business has outgrown its current 120,000-square-foot receiving and processing facility on East Pythian Street due to a steady demand for remanufactured parts and expectations for growth. Cores are equipment or machinery that have failed and need to be fixed.

“Those parts are received, graded and evaluated at our leased facility (on Pythian) and they will be at our new facility,” Flatau said. “Also, we store those cores until they are used in the remanufacturing process.”

By summer 2012, those parts will be heading to the Strafford Industrial Business Park, a 130-acre tract adjacent to highways 125 and OO, the future home of John Deere core processing.

The parts come in from John Deere dealers around the country and represent machines spanning a range of industries including agriculture, construction and forestry equipment before being transported to 4500 Mustard Way in the Partnership Industrial Center for repairs.

Flatau said the company began remanufacturing its own fuel-injection pumps around 18 months ago, parts that were traditionally outsourced, and now it has about 15,000 of those cores on inventory.

“It takes a lot of space to store those, and as that volume grows, even if it grows at only 10 percent a year, then soon you’re talking about 20,000 parts,” Flatau said. “In that example, we have done more manufacturing work (and) our customers have more tractors in the field, more products that use that particular fuel-injection pump, so the repair volume is growing at the same time.”

He said John Deere Reman-Springfield, a subsidiary of Deere & Co. founded in 1998 through a joint venture with Springfield Remanufacturing Corp., has added new products to counteract the impact of the economy. Now that industries such as construction appear to be poised for an upswing, the company wants to be ready for the increased demand for its services.

“John Deere has more of a global view, and we have seen some very good signs,” he said.

According to the U.S. Census Bureau, single-family housing starts had dropped by 1 million between 2006 to 2009, finishing the year at 450,000. In 2010, housing starts increased 5.8 percent. Multifamily starts jumped 6.4 percent last year after falling nearly 68 percent between 2006 and 2009.

John Deere Reman plans to hire up to 55 employees for the new processing center.

Connie Vinton-Schoepske, president of the Strafford Chamber of Commerce, said the jobs would be good ones for the area, approximately $30,000 a year. Greene County’s per capita income is $34,193.

She said John Deere Reman-Springfield first expressed interest ahead 15 months ago. The industrial park is owned by the Carl Keiser Family Trust, and John Deere will be its first tenant, according to Tom Vicat, Strafford city manager. Keiser is the retired owner of Keiser Equipment Co. and helped negotiate the sale of the property.

Vicat said John Deere Reman would receive an 85 percent tax abatement through the next 10 years.

“That may sound like a lot, but that’s all farmland now, and 15 percent of something is better than 100 percent of nothing,” Vicat said.

Vinton-Schoepske, whose family owns Maple Leaf Farms, said the development was good for the city.

“This could entice more people to move to Strafford,” Vinton-Schoepske said, pointing to the fact that Nixa once had a smaller population than Strafford.

She said Love’s Truck Stop recently agreed to build a facility east of Highway 125 and north of Interstate 44, which could attract more restaurants.

“We may be the next community to grow,” Vinton-Schoepske said.[[In-content Ad]]

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