Brazil and Clay County may just be the spark of an economic turnaround.
On Monday, representatives from Thompson Thrift Construction, Terre Haute, helped announce the expansion of Morris Manufacturing, Brazil, which could create a large number of additional jobs.
Currently operating out of a 61,356 square foot facility at 1015 E. Mechanic St., Brazil, Morris Manufacturing -- which produces high-precision, close tolerance machined metal parts for a wide range of industries -- signed a contract with Thompson Thrift to construct a new 40,500 square foot pre-engineered metal building, at an estimated project cost of $1.2 million, just south of its current structures.
Morris Director of Operations K. Dean Decker II told The Brazil Times the company had been talking about the expansion for about a year and a half, but were concerned with launching such a large project in the middle of an economic downturn.
"We set up a contingency plan in 2008, but despite the downturn, we were one of the lucky few that came out stronger and actually improved our business," Decker said.
He also confirmed construction of the facility should begin in the next couple weeks and hopes it will be completed by April in preparation for new business the company has already attracted.
"We have large contracts coming up that requires the building to be done by May," Decker said. "We are also working on diversifying our operations to Japanese transplant companies."
During the announcement, Morris -- who is the third-generation owner of the company -- also alluded to the growth of the business.
"This was not done by myself as it was a team effort to integrate this local business into the global market," he said. "We have maxed out our current floor space, and I am confident in this company, along with the community, in creating even more future success. Although I am the third-generation owner of the company, I am proud to say that the fourth generation is here helping the success along."
This is the latest of many announcements of either an expansion or a new business coming to Clay County in the past 10 months, including:
* March 2009 -- KIHM Metal Technologies, Inc., announced its company's plans to expand which could create as many as 40 new jobs through 2011,
* April 2009 -- BioEnergy Development, Fishers, revealed its letter of intent to construct a biomass electric generation plant which is tentatively slated to break ground sometime this Spring, and
* June 2009 -- IVC Industrial Coatings, Inc., finalized its purchase of the former MI Windows and Doors building, which will house the company's corporate headquarters.
Having yet another company in the area on the upswing has city and county officials eagerly anticipating the future.
"I feel truly honored and blessed to be a part of this announcement of another company showing success and expanding," Brazil Mayor Ann Bradshaw said. "I think this absolutely shows that the economy is starting to turn around and we will continue to support Morris Manufacturing and all other industries in the city and county."
Clay County Commissioner Paul Sinders added the recent trending of growth gives him faith for even better things in the near future.
"I congratulate and commend Morris Manufacturing for expanding at a time when we know the economy is not that strong," Sinders said. "I see nothing but good and positive things coming to the county and Brazil.
"Plus, if we can get a few more things in motion now, I think it will help us be a step ahead when the economy comes back around."
Decker also confirmed to The Brazil Times Morris Manufacturing has filed the paperwork necessary to apply for both real estate and personal property tax abatements for the new construction.