Recycler to grow in Greenville

July 26, 2010
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GREENVILLE — As a major part of its effort to expand its operations and its work force, West Michigan Compounding has acquired a new building. The five-year-old recycling firm recently bought a 24,000-square-foot building that sits on roughly six acres in Greenville.

“We service mainly automotive customers in helping them utilize their scrap plastics. We basically have equipment here to show these companies how they can take stuff which they might traditionally put into a landfill or get rid of for a very small value and use it back in their operations,” said Scott Barnard, managing partner of West Michigan Compounding.

“So we’re a plastics recycling company that has a bunch of equipment — like extruders and blenders and those kinds of things — that help these firms use their scrap.”

Barnard said the idea for West Michigan Compounding came about while he was with The Materials Group, a company that distributes plastic resins for automotive, industrial and consumer products. Back then, The Materials Group was using outside sources to produce its lines.

“So we decided we were going to start taking some of that in-house and buy some of the equipment that we needed. From there, it kind of sprouted into a new business that now has three large extruders, a bunch of blending equipment and washing equipment. We have a huge plastics reclamation yard in Greenville.

“It’s just really grown over the last five years,” he said of the firm’s business.

The Materials Group and West Michigan Compounding are at 575 Byrne Industrial Drive in Rockford. The reclamation yard is housed in a former Electrolux warehouse in Greenville.

West Michigan Compounding is now recycling between 15 million to 20 million pounds of plastic a year. Barnard said the firm will move its operations soon to its new site in Greenville at 1300 Moore Drive. The office personnel will head there first and the rest of the crew is expected to be there by mid-September.

“There is a really nice pent-up demand at these automotive companies, where they want to try to reutilize scrap in their existing process and they don’t have the equipment or the expertise to do it. So we act as consultants in that process and have the capabilities in-house to show them how they can recover all the value of their plastic scrap,” said Barnard.

The move to Greenville will more than double the 10,000 square feet of production space the company has in Rockford. The Greenville location also gives it plenty of room to grow across the site’s six acres. “So we can literally triple the size of the building without very much expense,” said Barnard.

Expansion wasn’t the only reason West Michigan Compounding went ahead with the purchase.

“There couldn’t be a better time to purchase real estate, especially for a company looking to grow. In addition, the location is very convenient with our existing plastics reclamation facility. We have about 100,000 square feet that we’re using at the old Electrolux distribution center,” said Barnard.

Pamela Collins, a real estate advisor with Callendar Commercial, represented the company in the transaction, which closed about a month ago.

“This company will probably not have to move ever again. It just really was a nice deal for everybody,” said Collins. “I believe you can get approximately another 72,000 square feet of space on this property.”

Barnard praised Greenville officials, whom he characterized as being cordial and helpful. He said City Manager George Basanic and Assistant City Manager Cameron Van Wyngarden were “up to speed” on available grant funding and helped his company get a Community Development Block Grant through the Michigan Economic Development Corp. The grant will be used to assist in making a key improvement to the new building. In return for that financial assistance, West Michigan Compounding plans to nearly triple its current work force of 10.

“They were very helpful in the application process,” said Barnard of city officials. “So we have a grant agreement of $120,000 based on job creation. We intend to add 17 jobs in the next 24 months. The grant agreement is in place so we can upgrade the electrical equipment at the facility, because the one thing the building fell short on was power.”

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