A manufacturer in Shelby County is expanding.
Francis Manufacturing Co. in the southern Shelby County village of Russia is investing $650,000 in a 20,000-square-foot addition to its facility at 2200 Russia-Versailles Road, the site of its main foundry, to add foundry capacity as the company grows, says company President Bill Francis.
"We're full, so we need to add capacity," Francis said. "I've got some new business opportunities that we could land this year and we just need more space."
The company is a family-owned aluminum sand foundry that produces castings in a range of sizes and aluminum alloys and also offers tooling, finishing, machining and a number of other secondary operations.
Francis was founded in 1946 by Thomas Francis, and as the oldest of his sons, Bill Francis has worked at the plant his whole life. The company has 130 employees now working in the 165,000-square-foot building. New foundry space will help bring it more capacity to add customers, he said.
"Business has been fine," Francis said. "We're always busy. This is what we do for a living; we've got good, hard-working farm boys working for us and we've been able to enjoy a little bit of success."
The business is diversified in the industries it serves, but doesn't work heavily in the automotive manufacturing industry that dominates the area. Francis said about 85 percent of its work is with companies within 200 miles, but its clients stretch from coast to coast.
Such capacity expansion is good news for the company and the village, as well as the manufacturing-heavy economy of the Interstate 75 corridor, which is dominated by major operations of Honda and Emerson Climate Technologies, as well as numerous regional suppliers. Shelby County has the highest percentage of manufacturing jobs per capita in the state, according to the Sidney-Shelby Economic Partnership.
The project is being handled by Minster-based construction group H.A. Dorstein Inc., according to county documents, with work expected to continue this year.