|Mar 31, 2011 --
Outline Of Need:
Mexico, Missouri was once known as the brick capital of the world, as it was home to the A.P. Green brick factory which had been in operation since the early 1900's. The factory produced refractory bricks which were used in the steel industry. When the domestic steel industry folded in the 1980's, the factory lost its primary customers, and closed down in 1992. Hundreds of jobs were lost as a result.
How Rural Development Helped:
Rural Development partnered with Community South Bank to provide a $10 million Business & Industry Guaranteed Loan to assist Mid America Brick with financing for the purchase and renovation of the idle brick factory. The refurbished factory will produce face bricks which are used in residential and commercial construction. The renovation project cost over $20 million, so a substantial amount of supplemental capital investment was required. These additional funds came from a variety of sources including the Missouri Department of Economic Development, a Small Business Administration loan, a private venture capital firm, and a number of private equity investors.
The renovation and refurbishment of the plant will allow production to resume and will create 80 new jobs in the Mexico community. This comes at a time of economic recession, and the new jobs are much needed in this rural area. Frank Cordie, formerly the manager of the old A.P. Green factory, will be the manager of the renovated factory under the Mid America Brick name. Once the news of the factory renovation project reached the community, Frank encountered dozens of potential job applicants who had also formerly been employed at the old plant. The company went on to hire a number of former employees who had worked at the old plant since the 1970's. For these former employees, the new plant represents an opportunity to continue their profession and still remain part of the Mexico community. The project also resulted in a once-dormant sprawling factory complex being renovated into a high-impact economic asset in Mexico, Missouri and the surrounding area.