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East Franklin business moving to Cheswick

| Saturday, Aug. 24, 2013, 1:01 a.m.
Louis B. Ruediger | Leader Times
East Franklin-based BFG -Wetsel Seed plans to close its doors and move to Cheswick, leaving behind the West Hills Industrial Park Wetsel Seed moved into the industrial park in 1982, and was one of its first tenants.

A long-standing East Franklin-based business plans to close its doors and move to Cheswick.

Officials at BFG-Wetsel Seed, which is owned by Burton, Ohio-based BFG Supply Co., plan to move to a larger warehouse in the Cheswick area of Allegheny County, leaving behind its West Hills Industrial Park facility near the park's Route 422 interchange.

Wetsel Seed moved into the industrial park in 1982 and was one of its first tenants.

According to information filed with the county Register and Recorder, BFG purchased the business for about $1.8 million in 2011.

A surge in new business made the move a necessity, according to Rob Glockner, president and chief executive officer of BFG Supply.

“Our investment in the Cheswick facility provides us with over 160,000 square feet of storage space, more than double what we had in Kittanning,” Glockner said. “The move put us closer to the main Pittsburgh freight terminals, which will allow us to leverage new relationships we've formed during the planning stages and to supplement our warehouse deliveries during the busy times of the year.”

Glockner and Tim Ward, BFG Supply's marketing director, did not discuss how the move would affect the employees at the company's Kittanning location, nor when the move would take place.

David Battaglia, president of the Armstrong County Commissioners, said officials had not received notification of the upcoming move as of Thursday.

“The building is a quality facility in an excellent location, but our main concern is the workers and employees,” Battaglia said. “We don't want to see anybody lose their job, period.”

The West Hills Industrial Park is owned by the Armstrong County Industrial Development Authority, but BFG owns the 80,000-square-foot facility it currently occupies, said Mike Coonley, executive director of the county's Department of Economic Development.

County officials plan to market the space at trade shows, online and in other forms of advertising, in hopes of bringing in a business to fill the site, Coonley said.

Coonley said 19 people worked out of BFG's warehouse in the industrial park.

“They were in need of a larger facility, but there aren't many 160,000-square-foot facilities in the county,” Coonley said. “It's certainly my hope that we can attract new business to fill the 80,000 square-foot facility, which can certainly hold more than 19 employees.”

Brad Pedersen is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. He can be reached at 724-543-1303, ext. 1337, or bpedersen@tribweb.com.

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