October 22, 2014

Medina
Cloudy
45°F

Business Beat: Expansions keep jobs, companies in Medina

By MARIA KACIK

Staff Writer

Editor’s note: Staff Writer Maria Kacik is taking a three-month leave of absence to volunteer with Cross-Cultural Solutions in Tanzania. She will be teaching English to college-age students.

Two local businesses looking to expand decided to keep their operations in Medina County.

Friction Products Co. — a manufacturer of brake pads for industrial equipment — is looking at an $11 million expansion at its Lake Road location in Medina. The project would create 95 jobs.

In addition, Falcon Industries — which produces custom conveyor screws and augers, the spiral part of the conveyor screw — will move from its current location in York Township to a facility under construction on Commerce Drive in Medina.


Falcon Industries is relocating from its current York Township location to a 350,000-square-foot facility under construction on Commerce Drive in Medina. The maker of custom conveyor screws and augers will bring 45 jobs to the city. Falcon used the augers on the back of a truck to drill underground through Commerce Drive. (Shirley Ware | Photo Editor)


Such business development means “we keep the economic viability of the city here,” said Medina Economic Development Director Tom Krueger. “When you get businesses like those that are actually exporting out of the region, that’s the way you can actually bring wealth into the region. And that’s what they do, both of them, very well. They reach the world with their goods and products.”

Friction Products’ approximately 40,000-square-foot expansion will accommodate booming business the company has seen in recent times. Some of the company’s biggest customers include Caterpillar and commercial aircraft manufacturers.

Friction Products formed in 1989 when its parent company, Hawk Corp., purchased an existing 70-employee friction products company. Today, Friction Products employs 250.

“We’ve expanded (the company) several times over the course of our ownership and we’re pleased to expand it once again,” said Tom Gilbride, vice president of finance for Hawk Corp.

Included in the expansion will be the creation of a new fuel cell component product line.

“It’s our entry into alternative energy,” said Ron Weinberg, chairman and CEO of Hawk Corp.

Such components are set to be used in fuel cells employed in the construction of the Freedom Tower in New York City on the grounds of the former World Trade Center.

Gilbride said the 95 new jobs created by the expansion primarily will be manufacturing-related, with some project engineer position openings. Hiring for some of the positions has begun. Gilbride said he expects all 95 jobs to be filled by the end of 2009.

“Things are moving very quickly in Medina to support this growth,” he said.

And to ensure the growth would stay in Medina, the company received a six-year, 40 percent job creation grant. Krueger explained for the first six years of the project, Friction Products will pay 100 percent of its city withholding tax, but receive 40 percent of it back. Krueger said the money given back to the company will be drawn from nontaxable resources, such as parking tickets and building permits.

Friction Products also received a 40 percent, seven-year tax credit from the state that will save it approximately $214,217 over the next seven years. One of the stipulations of the credit is the company is required to maintain operations at the project site for 14 years, Krueger said.

Before deciding on Medina for the expansion, however, Friction Products was looking to expand its operations in Tulsa, Okla. But it wasn’t just the credits that kept the company in Medina.

“I think, clearly, we’ve been in Medina for a very long time. We know the operating environment. We know the people. We’re committed to Medina,” Weinberg said.

Falcon Industries’ commitment to Medina County will bring 45 jobs to the city. By the end of the year, the company will move from its York Township location to its new 35,000-square-foot facility on Commerce Drive in Medina, which is currently under construction.

“We’ve tripled in size in the last eight years,” said Falcon President Bob Taylor. Business at the company’s York Township location is up 19 percent from last year. At its Minnesota location, business is up 7 percent.

Taylor said he is considering adding a second shift of workers to keep up with the growth.

“I don’t know if we can do it with the space we have in York Township, but I know we could do it in the new facility,” he said.

While Falcon — an employee-owned company — considered expanding at its Minnesota location, Medina’s job creation grant helped keep the company in Medina County. The company received a five-year, 40 percent grant.

But it was more than the grant, Taylor said.

“We wanted to stay here in Medina County. That’s because of the work force attitude and the people we currently have,” he said.

Pinnacle facility

Pinnacle broke ground for its new outdoor facility at 313 Medina Road, Granger Township. The facility is going to have an all-conditions artificial turf and will be able to adapt to almost any sport.

“We are now going to be able to serve many more children and families,” general manager Rob Garbinsky said.

Jeff Brewer, spokesman for Pinnacle, said the reason for this new facility is because Pinnacle would see a drop in business over the warmer months.

“Now Pinnacle is able to offer year-round programming,” he said. “You’ve got that complete flexibility to go in or out anytime of the year.”

Brewer also said Pinnacle is more than just a sport-training facility.

“We’re trying to equip young people with life skills,” he said.

The new facility is expected to open for the spring 2009 season.

Litchfield Tack

Litchfield Tack, open since 1968 at 8517 Norwalk Road, is under new ownership. Dana Richards, 42, took ownership on July 31. She decided to go into the tack business because her daughter is a full-time equestrian and her family just got hooked, she said. After almost two weeks, she said she already loves the business.

“I love the people,” she said. “They are friendly.”

Her husband is retired from the Coast Guard, her daughter is attending college and her son is going to college for business, she said. Her children are twins.

Litchfield Tack sells Western and English riding equipment, but Richards said she hopes to add more English.

Staff Intern Caterina Guinta contributed to this report.

Kacik may be reached at 330-721-4049 or business@ohio.net.