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story.lead_photo.caption LYNN KUTTER ENTERPRISE-LEADER Ben Buscher of Watts, Okla., and Philip Walding of Lincoln, both employees with Polytech Plastic Molding & Extrusion of Prairie Grove, tear out incubators and other equipment at the old hatchery formerly owned by Tyson Foods at 113 W. South St., in Lincoln. Polytech has purchased the building to use as a distribution center and for future growth of the company.

PRAIRIE GROVE -- Polytech Plastic Molding & Extrusion of Prairie Grove has purchased the empty Tyson Foods hatchery in Lincoln to use as a distribution center and for future growth of the company, according to owner Jim Benton.

Benton purchased Polytech in 2013, and since that time, the company's sales have more than doubled. In addition, Benton said, new machinery purchased over the years has taken over storage space at the company's 65,000-square-foot facility located at 126 N. Industrial Park Road in Prairie Grove.

Purchase History

According to Washington County property records, the former Tyson structure was built in 1974 with the city of Lincoln/Tyson’s Pension Trust listed as the grantee. The grantee changed to Tyson Foods Inc. Pension Trust in 1992.

In May 1997, it was sold for $1.2 million to George’s Food Service Inc., and then transferred by quit claim deed to Tyson Poultry Inc., in 2005.

Records show that for the Polytech purchase, JimJohn Capital LLC is listed as the grantee and the property was purchased for an estimated sale of $250,000.

Polytech has grown from 18 molding machines in 2013 to 22 today. By the end of the year, the company will have 25 machines working on multiple products for customers.

The company's extrusion lines have expanded from one in 2013 to five extrusion lines today, Benton said.

"We've been busting out of the seams for the last three years," Benton said.

Benton said he considered increasing the footprint of the current location but determined such a project would be cost prohibitive.

He began to look elsewhere for a suitable building, wanted a place that was within 10 miles, had from 30,000-100,000 square feet and preferred the Prairie Grove and Lincoln area.

"We like the Prairie Grove and Lincoln labor markets," Benton said.

By chance, Benton said one of his employees told him about the empty Tyson plant. He said he finished his lunch that day and drove to Lincoln to look at the building. Four Tyson employees were cleaning out the hatchery, and they gave Benton a name and phone number to call to inquire about the facility.

Benton said he called Chuck Bell with Tyson and the two "immediately hit it off." Benton made an offer to purchase the property and Bell said he would take it to the proper authorities. After a few conversations back and forth, Tyson accepted Benton's offer with the agreement that Polytech would be responsible for removing the incubators and grow rooms in the former hatchery.

The building at 113 W. South St. has 40,000 square feet and is located on 13 acres. It is in the Lincoln city limits west of the city park.

Polytech finalized the real estate transaction on July 5 with a closing ceremony and reception at Tyson headquarters.

"It was a fun time and Chuck and his team made us feel very good about making the decision," Benton said.

Lincoln Mayor Doug Hutchens said the city of Lincoln looks forward to Polytech opening up a facility in Lincoln and to hopefully expanding in the future.

"One of the big things," Hutchens said, "is that it will be continued tax revenue for the school."

In the meantime, Hutchens noted with Polytech purchasing the structure, that means the building will be occupied, kept up and will add value to the city.

Benton has a 10-person crew disassembling the equipment in the building. The building will be cleaned on the inside and spruced up on the outside, including trimming trees, mowing and improving the landscape.

When the demolition is finished, Benton said he plans to have the inside and outside steam-cleaned, an acid wash applied and then everything will be painted. The inside will be remodeled some, mainly to make it accessible for forklifts.

"We're going to make it look like new again," Benton said.

The building will be called the Polytech Distribution Center and a sign will be installed to identify the building to the public.

"It will be where we do all our shipping," Benton said, adding that products will be transferred to the distribution center on a daily basis and then shipped out to customers.

Polytech's shipments range from $10,000 in products on a light day up to $200,000 in products on a heavy day, according to Benton.

Six years ago, Polytech was making more than 350 individual parts for 57 customers. Since then, the company has added five or six new customers and is shipping products to 43 states, Canada, Mexico and Europe.

An example of one of Polytech's smallest parts is a plastic O-ring, Benton said. One of its largest parts is a large drain pan for condensing in an air conditioner.

Initially, the Lincoln building will have three or four positions transferred from the Prairie Grove facility. Currently, Polytech employs 90 people. However, Benton said within the first few months, three or four new jobs will be added and he anticipates 10-15 new jobs could be added in the next three to four years.

Polytech will move some of its assembly packaging to Lincoln and also will move some of its secondary operations to Lincoln in the future.

Benton said the 13 acres was key to the purchase.

"We could see our future there. It gives us an ample footprint to expand if we need to... As we expand, that's where we will go."

General News on 08/07/2019

Print Headline: Polytech Purchases Former Hatchery For Expansion

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