MOULTRIE — A Moultrie manufacturing facility restarted operations last week after a change in ownership.
JDJ Operations purchased the former Hubbell Die Casting facility and began operations there as Moultrie Die Cast on July 28, four days after Hubbell ceased operations.
Moultrie Die Cast initially is employing 27 workers and plans to eventually employ a work force of up to 150.
At its peak Hubbell had about 130 employees but that number had been declining over the last five years and had fallen to 40 at the time it was shut down, said Darrell Moore, executive director of the Moultrie-Colquitt County Development Authority.
Moultrie Die Cast will continue to produce die-castings for Hubbell Lighting and other Hubbell companies as well as regional customers, the company said in a news release.
The company also has indicated it will diversify the operations at the Moultrie plant to boost growth, including the production of toys and other products, Moore said.
“They’re really going to try to grow sales and continue growing,” he said. “They’re making investments in new equipment. I think that’s a very good thing for Colquitt County.
The company also announced that Mike Hiers of Moultrie has been named as plant manager at the facility. Hiers has more than 30 years of experience in die-casting, including safety and environmental, maintenance, and tool and die, the news release said.
JDJ Operations is affiliated with Dyersville Die Cast, a custom manufacturer of zinc and aluminum die-castings; and CNC machining, powder coating and plastic injection molding.
Established in 1970, Dyersville Die Cast is a family-owned and -operated manufacturer whose headquarters is located in Dyersville, Iowa. It is a division of Joseph L. Ertl Inc. and has a sister division, Scale Model Toys.
Jane Ertl McClean, vice president of Scale Model Toys, said that the parent company first learned of a potential opportunity in Moultrie in May 2008 and had been working to close a deal since December.
The company had looked to expand for years and selected the Moultrie facility to make that a reality, McClean said.
“We had some issues that fortunately have been worked out,” she said. “When this came up — a turnkey operation — this was very attractive for us. Another thing that’s very attractive in Moultrie is the quality of your people.”
Although the company has been in operation less than two weeks, it already has shipped product to Moultrie Manufacturing and received a truckload of new equipment from Iowa, she said.
“We are upgrading the plant,” McClean said. “We’ve had one week of production and we’re already upgrading. We’re really excited about it.”