By Traci L. Moyer
The Herald Bulletin
MIDDLETOWN, Ind. — Lisa Anderson's sheet metal clients include the Hyatt Regency, Indianapolis International Airport and several universities and hospitals.
"We make the pretty stuff," said Anderson. "Most of the stuff we do is custom so we never do it twice. We don't manufacture things. An architect will call us with an idea and we will tell them if it can or cannot be done.
"We take ideas and make them come to life."
The lifelong Middletown resident owns Metal Art, a precision sheet metal fabrication business. The company, established in 1994, has been creating everything from railings to large custom architectural projects and now plans to invest $500,000 to expand their business.
"We have continued to grow," Anderson said. "Until a couple of years ago we never had a sales person. It has all been from word of mouth. If you just say what you are going to do and do what you say -- that's what people like."
Anderson's current facility is 6,000-square-foot building and she plans to add another 15,000 square feet. She said the addition will have special wiring for the equipment used in the fabrication process.
The company has been planning the expansion for a few years, but the project was put on hold when the economy showed signs of trouble. With the continued growth of their business, however, Anderson said they can no longer delay their plans.
"It's just time to do it," she said.
Anderson said she plans to add about 10 more jobs in the next three years. The jobs are skilled trade positions like welding and Anderson said she would like to explore the idea of partnering with local vocational schools to fill the positions or offer learning opportunities.
"It's not something anyone off the street could come in and pick up," she said.
The new positions would not be minimum wage.
"Our lowest paid person is $20 an hour," Anderson said.
Metal Art has requested a three-year tax abatement for their expansion and is preparing to sign with a contractor for the expansion.
Betty Riley, Middletown council president, said the expansion is a welcome addition. She said the company originally considered purchasing the former E-Biofuels building before deciding to expand at their current location.
"We need businesses in town and we can use the extra taxes," Riley said. "We know them, we know their business and they have been in business for a long while."
Riley said she has not talk to the other town officials, but she did not think a three-year tax abatement would be difficult to grant. Most companies request a 10-year tax abatement when involved with the kind of investment Anderson has committed to make.
"I feel like in three years you are going to have big money invested and with that kind of money invested you are not going to walk away from it," Riley said.
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