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Business expands into old Bombardier plant

BENTON (WSIL) — A manufacturing business in Benton plans to expand into a nearby plant, left vacant several years ago.

Bombardier Recreational Products left Benton in September 2012, eliminating 340 jobs. Another business, Mincon, Inc., plans to use at least 15 percent of the old plant. Mincon first came to Benton in 1995, manufacturing drilling equipment for a global market.

President Mike Jones said he’s been thinking about expanding for a while, "Looking at also adding some manufacturing, different product lines to what we manufacture worldwide. And this, by far, fills any type of needs that we have for that."

Local leaders have been looking for a new tenant ever since Bombardier left more than six years ago.  

"Mincon is a worldwide company. They are a good company. They are a solid company," Benton mayor Fred Kondritz said. "And they’re going to do nothing but make Benton better."

U.S. Rep. Mike Bost, R-Illinois, applauded local leaders’ efforts to market the plant, "The worst thing you can ever see is when you see a business leave because it’s not easy to get them back," Bost said. "So you’ve got to be able to sell the building that they left, which is what our communities have been doing."

And Jones hopes it’ll bring in 100 jobs to the area, "Not just with us, but also looking at bringing in different manufacturers, different businesses, trying to promote more businesses in Franklin County."

Jones says it will take at least a year to get the new plant up and running. He said the overall investment will likely be more than $5 million.

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