Fee Corp moving office to Ironton

Published 12:00 am Tuesday, August 10, 2004

David Kelley's grandfather helped build the former Matlack building at the corner of Wyanoke and S. 12th St. and Kelley now hopes to help restore it to its former glory.

The Willow Wood native is part-owner and local manager of Fee Corp Industrial Services, a Columbus-based industrial cleaning company has also operated offices in Aberdeen and South Point for the past 12 years. Last week, the company began moving its County Road 1 offices to the Ironton building that formerly housed Matlack trucking company and the Ohio Department of Transportation's garage in the 1950s.

"We just outgrew our place in South Point. We outgrew it 5 or 6 years ago," Kelley said Monday as workers continued moving into the 3.5-acre site that spans an entire block. "… This was long-time past due. We had thought about building a place, but I had been waiting 5 years to get this building."

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The company specializes in cleaning boilers and other facilities at power plants and industrial sites including Dayton Power & Light, Aristech Chemical and W.Va. Steel. Kelley hopes to expand the local business to include tractor trailer cleaning.

Ideally, they could clean 40 to 50 trailers per week and have a corner on the local market because the closest place that offers the service now is Columbus or Nitro, W.V., Kelley said.

Currently employing more than 60 workers - split between part- and full-time, Kelley hopes to expand now that the company has a facility that can grow with the business.

"We are going to try and boost this up in the next year or so to over 100," Kelley said, explaining that it all depends on the amount of work at any given time. "… It is either feast or famine in this business. One day you need 30 people, the next day you need 120."

Bill Dickens, committee chairman of Ironton Port Authority, stopped by the business last week and again Monday to welcome them to town and offer any support. Dickens emphasized that it is the smaller business that the will be the future of Lawrence County.

"The state advises (that small business should be the focus). We aren't probably going to get the big automobile manufacture or other big fish," Dickens said. "If we can get 12 companies like Dave's here, we are certainly better off. This is certainly a step in the right direction."

Fee Corp purchased the site from Ironton Machine Shop for $180,000. The lot includes a block building and an aluminum building, parking and storage area.

Down the road, Kelley hopes to add a 30-foot by 60-foot aluminum shelter for storage.