Advanced Machine moves to Ironton

Published 12:00 am Wednesday, July 9, 2008

After a little less than a year, Advanced Machine and Fabrication LLC has moved into the old Wolohan building on South Third Street in Ironton.

The company bought the building last August, but has been moving into Ohio from their former base in Ashland, Ky.

The reason for the move is that the company makes specialty parts and tools for mining and power companies and owner Jeremy Chapman found that he was rapidly running out of space. So he searched the Tri-State for a building with a lot of room for his current and future needs.

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“The place we were in, we had outgrown,” Chapman said. “This is probably the only area that had what we were looking for that wasn’t price gouging. This will give us a chance to get on our feet, economically.”

About a month ago, Chapman and his crew moved into the former lumber and hardware store that closed in 2001.

“It took us longer to get moved in than we expected, there are some differences between Kentucky and Ohio,” Chapman said. “There was a lot of red tape to get through.”

Chapman has been running the company for about four years. He took it over from his father who started it 15 years ago.

“We’ve been expanding over the past several years and we couldn’t really serve our customers unless we took the next step and found a spot where we could store parts,” he said. “What makes the biggest difference here is that we have four storage sheds and we are able to get outside and build parts.”

And there is room for expansion. The building has about 21,000 square feet of space and about 4.5 acres of land to build on if needed.

“It’s a big difference going from a crammed-in, can’t-move-around space to wondering what I’m going to do with all this space,” Chapman said.

Advanced Machine and Fabrication LLC employs about 10 people and hopes to expand to 25 in the next three years.

He said that Bill Dickens, Ironton’s economic development director and member of the Ironton Port Authority was instrumental in helping him get through the process of setting up in Ohio.

“He was the one person I could always count on and could always call to get help,” Chapman said. “He helped me get through this.”

Dickens said he is glad to have the business in Ironton.

“We are happy to have Advanced Machine and Fabrication LLC as part of Ironton’s business community,” Dickens said. “I believe Mr. Chapman has the tools and skills to grow the business into a 40- or 50-employee operation.”