Brodhead business 'running out of room'
McClaren Machine & Tool plans to add about 5,800 square feet to its building at 202 17th St.
"We're just running out of room," said Tom McClaren, owner and CEO of McClaren Machine & Tool.
The plan commission and city council, both in special meetings Tuesday night approved the site plan. The city is working on a developer's agreement with the company to include money from the tax increment financing district, Mayor Doug Pinnow said.
The third-generation family business does contract machinery and parts for customers in southern Wisconsin and northern Illinois.
McClaren employs 11 people, and more hiring could occur if business continues to pick up, Tom McClaren said. Recently, he added one full-time position and three part-time positions.
The company would add more equipment down the road, but for now, the $150,000 to $200,000 expansion will allow workers to spread out, McClaren said.
The concrete is poured and building supplies will arrive later this week from Varco Pruden in Evansville.
Choice Building System, also in Evansville, will do the construction.
McClaren hopes to have the expansion done by Jan. 1.
Business started picking up in September 2009, he said. This year, sales have climbed, he said.
McClaren Machine & Tool was started by McClaren's grandfather, Earl, in 1955 in Beloit.
McClaren's father, Monte, moved the business to Brodhead in 1977 and expanded in 1981. McClaren bought the business in 1997 and expanded in 2000.
One of the company's products has really taken off: the Python Separator.
The patented product is used at dairies or juice companies to separate milk or other liquid products from plastic or cardboard containers when the items have reached their expiration dates for sales in grocery stores, McClaren said.
Before the machine was developed, people had to cut open the containers with knives, he said.
The company has sold the product worldwide for anything in plastic bottles, he said.
"It's good for us that he's staying in town and expanding and hopefully will add some more employees," Pinnow said. "It's good to have a successful business stay here."