City OKs abatements for $16 million in industrial investments

Three companies in Columbus have received tax abatements from the city for more than $16 million in planned expansions or new equipment.

The Columbus City Council voted 6-0 Tuesday to approve all three tax abatements it was asked to consider — for Rightway Fasteners, Cintas Corp. and Tipton Mills Foods.

Rightway Fasteners Inc. plans to invest $9.85 million for new equipment at its plant, 7945 S. International Drive, where the company makes fasteners for the automotive industry, said Ron Miller, the company’s general manager.

Toyota is Rightway’s largest customer, he said.

The company plans to install 36 pieces of manufacturing equipment due to increased demand and growth beginning in April, Miller said. As a result of the project, which has a projected March 2019 completion date, Rightway will retain 360 jobs and add 17 new positions starting this year that will range from $11 to $12 an hour, he said.

The tax abatement will save the company $287,771 over a 10-year period, said Robin Hilber, community development programs coordinator with the city. Rightway Fasteners also received a tax abatement from the city in November 2016 as part of a $3.9 million investment for a new production line at its facility.

Cintas Corp., a supplier and distributor of corporate identity uniform and other supplies, is planning a $1.3 million, 17,500-square-foot planned distribution center in the Woodside Northwest Industrial Park. Currently, all of the company’s 49 employees work at the Cintas facility at 4300 E. 50 North in Columbus, where it has operated since 2002, said Katy Cradick, branch manager with Cintas.

The company has grown beyond what its 13,000-square-foot building can handle, Cradick said.

Cradick said Cintas would like to have the new building completed by the end of the year, which will also result in an investment of $573,000 over a four-year period for new equipment. The company will retain all of the current positions as a result of the expansion and add three new jobs by 2021 with an average hourly wage of $21.94, according to its application filed with the city.

Cradick said the company had looked at other potential locations, but selected the site in the industrial park due to its proximity to Interstate 65 and customers in the region. The abatement will save Cintas $96,607.

“We’d like to move very quickly on this,” Cradick said of the expansion.

Tipton Mills Foods, a manufacturer of functional powdered beverages and foods, is planning a 40,000-square-foot expansion of its facility at 835 S. Mapleton St.

The company plans to make a $2.4 million investment in property improvements and an additional $2 million investment in new equipment, said David Harding, president of Tipton Mills Foods.

The company was formed in 2015 from the purchases of equipment assets of Buffalo Blends Inc. and Tipton Mills LLC by Trinity Companies LLC, according to the company’s application filed with the city.

The expansion, which is expected to begin in April, will result in 31 jobs being retained and 15 jobs being added this year with an average hourly wage of $18.26, Harding said. The company expects to fill those new positions over the next three to four months, he said.

Harding said the expansion, on track to be completed by the end of the year, was driven by a manufacturing facility in Wisconsin that is scheduled to shut down after Tipton Mills Foods was awarded a bid to pick up the production cycle. The expansion will be a benefit not only for Tipton Mills Foods, but Columbus as a whole, he said.

Tipton Mills Foods will save $401,975 through the tax abatement.

“I think it’s fantastic for the community,” Harding said.

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Matt Kent is a reporter for The Republic. He can be reached at 812-379-5712 or