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Longtime Salem plant looking to move



Published: Fri, January 21, 2005 @ 12:00 a.m.



The company needs a smaller facility and new equipment.

SALEM -- Hunt Valve Co.'s long history in Salem appears to be in jeopardy.

The company has put its facility at 1913 E. State St. up for sale and is looking for a new home. The company dates to 1919 when the father and son business C.B. Hunt and Son opened in Salem.

"The facility is a lot bigger than we require, and there are other business issues that brought us to this decision," said Mark Drewnoski, human resources director.

The company will be soliciting sites and looking for incentive packages from municipalities and Ohio, Drewnoski said. Calls have already been coming in about sites as word spreads about their plans to move, he said.

Hunt Valve employs 132 workers at its Salem plant.

"Of course, we'd invite our employees to move with us, not necessarily in Salem, but maybe somewhere in the Mahoning Valley," Drewnoski said.

The company would be looking for a smaller building and plans to get rid of its old equipment and invest in new, more efficient machinery, he said.

Hunt Valve manufactures specialty designed valves, cylinders, and engineered systems for industry and the military.

Drewnoski said the company, under new ownership, has seen business turning around in the last year, with the company receiving a number of government contracts.

The move will probably take place in two to three years, Drewnoski said. "We are a highly precisioned company. ... This isn't something that's going to happen overnight," he said.

In March 2004, Hunt Valve experienced a work stoppage involving 66 members of United Steelworkers of America Local 6821.

The labor dispute -- the union called it a lockout while the company termed it a strike -- lasted about two weeks.




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