|Apr 19, 2012 --
Thurston Manufacturing Company designs, manufactures and distributes farm equipment (fertilizer applicators and conservation tillage equipment) under the trade name of BLU-JET. The company’s distribution network is primarily throughout the United States, with a small percentage of sales to Canada and Eastern Europe. In late 1999, Thurston Manufacturing purchased Circle R, and now manufactures and sells side dump semi-trailers throughout the greater United States. The Company was incorporated in May 1971.
Thurston Manufacturing worked with First National Bank of Omaha to replenish working capital it used for a shareholder buyout, to refinance a portion of revolving debt for better rates and terms, and expand the plant and purchase associated equipment.
In September of 2011, Thurston Manufacturing Company received two loans, guaranteed by USDA Rural Development, from First National Bank of Omaha for $2,830,000. The first working capital loan is closed and they are currently 50 percent complete in the construction phase of the plant expansion. The expansion will allow an additional 35,000 square feet (a 50 percent increase in facilities) and is expected to assist the company in work flow efficiencies. The company projects the 50 percent expansion could potentially double its manufacturing output capacity. Many processes, including the painting and manufacturing of side dump trailers, currently cause work flow stoppages. The company is also inefficiently completing work outside the building, including sandblasting and some assembly as well as completing work in other temporary facilities located throughout the Village of Thurston and subcontracting with at least three other manufacturers. All of these inefficient activities will be streamlined upon completion of the facility expansion. The permanent note is underwritten with an 80 percent guarantee through the Rural Development Business and Industry program. Through First National Bank of Omaha’s financing and Rural Development’s Guarantee, the company expects to continue to operate above capacity.
Kept a strong manufacturing base in a rural community in an area of the country where the county has nine percent unemployment (the highest in the state) and the entire county is a qualified HUBZone. Retained 97 jobs and created 16 jobs in a community of 125. Additional capacity has allowed the company to aggressively pursue multiple export markets, where it is already experiencing very favorable results. Savings of more than $40,000 annually in interest and fees allow the company to reinvest back into growing the business and training and hiring new employees.