Officials hope Kansas manufacturer will lure more business

Saturday, February 5th 2005, 4:17 pm

By: News On 6

MIAMI, Okla. (AP) _ Officials hope the landing of a Kansas manufacturer of corrugated products will attract other companies to this northeast Oklahoma community.

Wichita, Kan.-based Love Box Co. will open a distribution and warehousing center in Miami's Northeast Progress Industrial Park in about eight weeks.

``We've finally completed a deal,'' Dave Bykowski, general manager of Love Box, said. ``This is something we've been working on since June.''

The company will lease a 50,000-square-foot building in the industrial park. Ten workers will initially be employed, most working as truck drivers and forklift operators, Bykowski said.

The Miami facility will serve as a distribution center and warehousing operation. A small-scale production operation could be added in the next six months to a year, and that would require hiring two additional employees, Bykowski said.

Chuck Neal, a member of the boards of the Miami Industrial Development Authority (MIDA) and the Miami Area Economic Development Service boards, said Love Box Co. will allow the city to recruit other businesses.

``With Love Box opening here, businesses will not have to go very far for boxes in Miami,'' Neal said.

Under the contract, the industrial development authority would purchase the building and about 10 acres surrounding the land from the Miami Area Economic Development Service for $500,000. It would then enter into a 15-year lease purchase agreement with the box company.

Under terms of the agreement, MIDA has also obtained $467,000 in financing to pay for finishing the building.

Love Box will close a Joplin, Mo., production and distribution operation that employs about 25 workers while opening the Miami facility, officials said.

``We have room for expansion here (in Miami),'' Bykowski said. ``But, the next two years are going to tell us whether or not we want to stay here and expand.''

The company has a commitment from J-M Farms and does business with Doanes Pet Care Products, Blitz USA and Discovery Plastics. J-M Farms and Discovery Plastics are already located at the park.

Bykowski said Miami was attractive because the industrial park is close to Interstate 44, a Burlington Northern Santa Fe railroad spur that extends into the industrial park and the ability to bring trucks pulling two trailers to the industrial park.

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