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County Inks Deal For Jobs

By David Howell

COFFEEVILLE – Blauer Manufacturing, Inc. has agreed to provide 20 jobs at a county-owned building in Coffeeville after signing a 20-year lease-purchase agreement with supervisors last week.

            The company first leased the 86,600 square-foot building in mid-2014, and negotiations had been underway in recent months for a long-term deal as the company is expected to transition from using the building for storage only. Plans identified by the company’s vice-president of Distributions and Logistics, Elvest Cook, include using a portion of the building to sell the company’s seconds in addition to storage.

            Blauer provides uniforms for law enforcement, fire/EMS and military communities in the U.S. It also offers a wide variety of shirts, pants, mid-layers, base-layers, safety vests, caps, jackets, accessories and footwear. 

            In the agreement, Blauer agreed to pay $300,000 for the building, $1,250 monthly. The company also agreed to maintain liability insurance and upkeep on the building during the 20-year lease-purchase agreement. Blauer will not pay ad valorem taxes on the actual building during the 20-year period. At the end of the deal, Blauer can assume title on the building for $10. The contract also gives the company an out, allowing Blauer to withdraw from the contract after giving the county six months notice.

            Board Attorney John Crow, who drafted the contract, explained the company had required the out to be included in the contract.

            “They will keep a minimum of 20 employees, but we really anticipate that to grow in the future,” reported Board President Tommy Vaughn in the May 20 meeting. “That building is well suited for what they are going to do. They have a lot of plans for the future,” Vaughn added. The building is located on Tennessee Street in Coffeeville and has been vacant since late 2011, when Avery Outdoors moved out.

            Vaughn also praised the county’s economic development director, Bob Tyler, for working diligently for months on the deal.

            “The whole board has worked hard, but Bob is always there to get the answers, I think it is going to be a benefit for everybody in the county, especially the people in Coffeeville,” Vaughn added.

            Blauer first occupied the building in mid-2014, leasing it for $800 monthly to store sewing machines for six months. At the end of 2014, Blauer was ready to extend the lease for $1,000 per month, pay all utilities and secure liability insurance on the building. The details of the lease-purchase agreement had been discussed in multiple county meetings this spring.

            Vaughn added that the county had first reached out to the company in 2008, when the SWM Corporation, a subsidiary of Blauer, sustained damage at their Oxford site from a tornado.

            “They are a good, solid company,” Vaughn added.

            The company is headquartered in Boston, Mass., and Tyler outlined the company’s operations that include their main facility in the industrial park in Oxford, a site used for storage in Charleston, Miss., a manufacturing site in Missouri and a manufacturing site in Mexico that employs 900. 

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