The Source 2022 | Page 16

economic scene

Sometimes , economic development is about being in the right place at the right time .

For the Greater Ottumwa Partners In Progress ( GOPIP ), the timing was perfect .
Three major companies announced plans to either get started in Ottumwa or improve their already-existing business structure in the community .
“ 2021 ended up being one of GOPIP ’ s best years when it came to new business ,” said Sharon Stroh , GOPIP ’ s Vice President of Industrial Development and Organizational Communication . “ In the eight years I ’ ve been here , that ’ s probably one of the best years we ’ ve had . I don ’ t know if it was surprising as much as it was timing . It just finally fell together the way it was supposed to .”
The year certainly was excellent , as Atlantic Bottling Company finalized an agreement to move its distribution onto 3.16 acres at the Ottumwa Regional Airport . The company intends to build a new 4,500-square foot facility , and relocate its employees from the current Gateway Drive location .
“ It ’ ll be heavy on truck traffic , but they don ’ t manufacture product there ,” Stroh said . “ They could put that building up fairly quickly . I ’ d say the second quarter of 2022 will be the target .”
Also , Maax Spas , a Chandler , Arizona-based company that sells 20 models of swim spas , expanded into a 90,000-square foot facility in the Ottumwa Industrial Park . The projections estimated at least 50 jobs would be created by the company expanding ; the company itself figured up to nearly $ 23 million in sales .
A third company , Superior Machine , which is based in Albia , announced it would expand operations into Ottumwa . The company , which specializes in welding , fabrication and machining , also purchased property in the industrial park on Fox Sauk Road . The company ’ s headquarters will remain in Albia , but it will invest nearly $ 4 million in building and infrastructure improvements . Training of new employees will occur in Albia .
“ They ’ re going to be occupying about 30,000 square feet ,” Stroh said . “ That building is about 176,000 square feet , so they ’ re leasing some of that space and making cashflow , so that ’ s a good
Maax Spas

Fourth-quarter announcements give momentum for 2022

Cardinal Comet press box ( Schroeder Graphics and Sign )
thing for us . Superior and I have worked together since 2017 trying to find a presence in Ottumwa . ( Owner ) Ben Van Loon wanted to be here for a number of years and it was just the right time for him .”
Stroh said small businesses had a good year as well , with those businesses marketing their goods to draw people inside their doors .
“ The more creative , the more personal and the more opportunities to reach out to an audience , that has allowed our small businesses , from a retail perspective , to do pretty darn well ,” she said .
Stroh also pointed to the growth of Schroeder Graphics and Sign on the commercial side of business . The business specializes in graphics for work vehicles , window and wall decals , etc . It started small in Montezuma , got a little bigger when it moved next to Atomic Pest Control , and now has a 25,000-square foot building near the airport .
“ I can tell you they ’ re doing gangbuster work , and I know they ’ re looking at investing in expansion already , and he hasn ’ t been out there under a year ,” she said . “ So is it the right time because people are doing more graphics work ? Is it because he ’ s close and convenient ? Or does he just sell a really good product ? All that comes into effect when you look at reputation , and it all helps these guys grow and thrive . I ’ m seeing more of that .”
This year figures to be another exciting one as GOPIP will likely get the results of an analysis for more development near the airport , as well as potential development south of Main Street in the railport area , as well as a re-imagining of Church Street along the oxbow .
“ Those will be three really hot topics that we work at this summer , and into the fall and winter , probably the whole calendar year ,” Stroh said . “ And then when you get to 2023 , then you start getting into implementation and doing the construction .
“ There are some things that are in the works right now .”
16 The Source . 2022