atlantic india—local couple buys 90 year-old business
At a time when the country is struggling through unemployment rates as high as they’ve been in decades, a couple from Johnson County, Kentucky took a plunge in order to save their jobs and those of their eight co-workers.
Irene Morris and her husband David have a combined 45 years of experience in the rubber manufacturing business. In 2003 Irene was hired as general manager and David as production manager of the Ohio-based Atlantic India Rubber Company (AIRC). AIRC manufactures over 14,000 standard, off-the-shelf rubber products for industrial, medical and commercial use. AIRC has over 2000 customers across the country, including original equipment manufacturers such as John Deere as well as distributions centers such as Rubber Products Distributors. The 48,000 square foot manufacturing plant is located in Johnson County.
The Morrises and their co-workers were understandably worried when they heard that the previous owner wanted to sell the business. Says Irene, “We knew when it sold, it most likely wouldn’t stay in Kentucky. We thought, ‘OK- do we want to take a chance and buy it so we can keep it here in Kentucky?’ We decided to go for it.”
The problem was accessing financing. “We didn’t have lots of savings,” continues Irene, “and we were worried that we wouldn’t be able to get financing. If it hadn’t have been for MACED and Southeast Kentucky Economic Development (SKED), we wouldn’t have been able to do it.” MACED extended a loan of $665,750 to finance the purchase of the land and the building. The funding was leveraged with additional loans from SKED to finance the purchase of the production equipment.
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