Ullin, Ill., engineering company acquires old Purina building in Cape

Wednesday, July 30, 2008

A Southern Illinois industrial engineering company has acquired the former Nestle Purina Petcare office building in Cape Girardeau and will be moving its operations to the area by late August.

The building has been vacant since 2007, when Purina moved its operations in Cape Girardeau to Bloomfield, Mo.

The move by NAB Automation into the 9,000-square-foot facility at 126 Airport Road will bring four additional engineering jobs to the area by 2009 while allowing the company to better serve its customer base in seven Midwestern states, according to Tom Kelsey, commercial broker with Lorimont Place, who handled the transaction. Its current employment force is seven.

"This is going to be a turning point in our business," said NAB vice president Justin Albright. "The move will help us take off with the location and serve as the foundation to grow, which we've never had before."

The company engineers and installs automation and safety monitoring equipment, primarily in the grain storage industry.

In 2007, NAB had outgrown its space, which limited its ability to expand the business further. When Albright and owner Mike Jordan decided to relocate from Ullin, Ill., to Cape Girardeau because of a more diverse work force and fast access to the airport and Interstate 55, they needed a physical address to relocate the company.

That's when they turned to the Southeast Innovation Center.

The center, at 901 Broadway in Cape Girardeau, offers business incubator space, entrepreneurial training, business development services, technical oversight and easy access to services needed by startup entities. The center provided NAB with a mailbox and a conference room to interview employees.

"Since the employees we interviewed were from the Cape Girardeau area, it was more convenient for them to travel to the Innovation Center rather than drive 30 minutes to our offices in Illinois," Albright said. "Plus, the state of Missouri required us to have a physical address to establish our business here."

Albright said Cape Girardeau Area Magnet executive director Mitch Robinson and Cape Girardeau Area Chamber of Commerce president and chief executive officer John Mehner were instrumental in landing the company. Their two entities worked to help provide necessary financing for the company through the Missouri Department of Economic Development.

"They are an exciting company and have tremendous growth potential," Robinson said. "This company will be one that will be with us for a long time, and hopefully we'll see many positive things come from NAB."

bblackwell@semissourian.com

335-6611, extension 137

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