Exterior of TravelCenters America tire retread plant, formerly owned by Ironhead Rubber Technologies, on Wednesday, June 6, 2018, in Bowling Green.
BOWLING GREEN — After Ironhead Rubber Technologies’ tire retreading plant closed down last fall, General Manager Jody Miller stayed on site to ship products out and prepare the property for prospective buyers.
Soon after, TravelCenters of America came calling, and now the plant will soon be open for business again.
In mid-May, TA decided to purchase the 32,000-square-foot facility for $2.725 million and spend another $1.85 million on new retreading machinery and cosmetic improvements to the building’s interior and exterior. By mid-July, production will begin at the company’s first tire retread plant nationwide, restoring 10 to 15 jobs to Bowling Green’s manufacturing sector.
“We’re delighted to see almost a seamless transition from one company leaving to another company coming in,” said Sue Clark, executive director of the Bowling Green Economic Development Office. “A lot of employees have come back to work there.”
Among those is Mr. Miller, who has worked in the retreading business for 25 years, the last two with Ironhead. He said the plant’s location is ideal to tap into the local market.
“You’re right off I-75,” Mr. Miller said. “There’s [TravelCenters] locations in Perrysburg, North Baltimore, so we’ll be able to distribute retreads to the different facilities throughout Ohio.”
In a written statement, TravelCenters spokesman Tom Liutkus said the plant will supply a full line of Goodyear retreaded tire products to fleets, local industries, and tire dealers in a 150-mile radius of Bowling Green, in addition to local TravelCenters truck service facilities.
TravelCenters of America, based in Westlake, Ohio, is one of the largest commercial tire dealers in the United States, he added.
“We are an Ohio-based company investing in Ohio,” Mr. Liutkus wrote.
The plant could employ up to 30 people within its first three years of operation if business is strong, Ms. Clark and Mr. Liutkus said.
Mr. Miller said he is glad to be working alongside other former Ironhead employees experienced in tire retreading.
“It’s like a craft,” he said. “Not everybody can do it, and it seems like the workers that are in the industry, they want to stay with them.”
TravelCenters will hold a ribbon-cutting ceremony at the plant in late July.
Bowling Green is also home to a Cooper-Standard automotive plant that produces hoses and rubber fixtures and employs more than 300 people.
Contact Mark Rosenberg at firstname.lastname@example.org, 419-724-6194, or on Twitter @markrosenberg32.
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