For Thermwell, it was important to keep a product on the shelves that is made in the U.S., said Mel Gerstein, president of Thermwell.
“I think it’s a major made in U.S.A. statement,” Gerstein said.
The property includes a 50,000 square foot facility now being used as training and storage space for Rittal, as well as two smaller structures used for storage. Rittal is leasing and will hopefully continue to do so for several years to come, White said.
If Rittal eventually decides to leave the space, it will likely be the new home for W.B. Marvin employees, who currently produce the screens in a small building on Glenn Avenue. If not, White said there is plenty of land to build an additional structure for W.B. Marvin employees while Rittal continues to rent its current space.
In the meantime, Thermwell plans to build a 20,000 square foot shipping and receiving space that will connect the two smaller structures on the property. That work could begin as early as this spring.
Now, W.B. Marvin products are shipped to New Jersey, then distributed to customers. But White said Thermwell is considering distributing some products directly from Urbana.
White said he has been looking for this type of opportunity for the last few years. It was once possible the jobs could have been outsourced to China, but Thermwell’s commitment means they will likely stay in Urbana instead.
“My goal was to keep those jobs in Urbana,” White said.
Thermwell is also financing the purchase through Champaign Bank in Urbana, as opposed to a bank in New Jersey, Gerstein said.
The moves show the company is committed to making sure the WB Marvin Company stays in Urbana for a long time to come, said Marcia Bailey, economic development coordinator for Urbana.
The W.B. Marvin name has a reputation dating as far back as 1939, White said, giving Thermwell a respected name brand to add to its line of products. In return, because it only produces a single product, W.B. Marvin likely could not have survived without Thermwell’s assistance.
“Our goal is to invest more and add more people,” he said.