LORDSTOWN, Ohio – When M&M Industries Inc. came to the Mahoning Valley and took over the former Magna seating plant in Lordstown, executives knew they would eventually expand.
Only 14 months later, the injection molding plastics manufacturer, specializing in pails and packaging for the chemical, pharmaceutical and food industries, broke ground Nov. 2 on an expansion project that will more than double the size of the plant. Costing more than $7 million, the expansion will mean an additional 78,675 square-feet of space, which will be used for warehousing and shipping.
Glenn Morris, president and CEO of the business started by his father, Glenn Morris Sr., reflected that the community has treated them like family since their arrival in 2021.
Lordstown Mayor Arno Hill, other officials in the village of Lordstown, the school district and the Youngstown/Warren Regional Chamber were among those he thanked for their help. Morris said this area welcomed the company and they are excited to expand.
“I have never worked with a better, more open group of people,” Morris said. “I’ve fallen in love with the community here in the Valley, I really have…everybody’s been open to doing business here and being very positive.”
M&M Industries Inc. was founded in 1986 and is based in Chattanooga, Tenn., where it has two manufacturing facilities. A third facility is in Phoenix, Ariz. Between the four locations, M&M Industries employs 600 with just over 50 of them in Lordstown.
“In that plant, right now, we have over 50 people who are phenomenal,” Morris said. “You would be honored to have them as neighbors. You would be honored to have them – and may have them – as friends. And we have the privilege of working with them everyday and it is beyond joy what I get to do.”
Finding workers right now is difficult for everyone and with the expansion slated for completion next summer, M&M Industries will be looking for even more.
“Finding people is always a challenge,” Morris said. “We’re looking for exceptional people. We’re very proud of our culture. We want to make people a part of that culture. It’s always a challenge finding people. It is [a challenge] in the valley and it is in many places in the United States. We’ve been really fortunate to find some very, very good ones though.”
The expansion project will include a pre-engineered metal facility connected to the existing building with six overhead doors and docks, allowing it to be used for storing and shipping products. Morris said this will allow M&M to better organize the plant and free up more space for intake as well as more presses for production lines.
The construction project is going through GEM Inc. and Rudolph Libbe Group, which helped M&M retrofit the former seat manufacturing plant, install the initial production line and add equipment including extruder machines, an extended utility bridge and expansion of the process cooling systems.
The initial investment included building four silos for the plastic pellets needed for the manufacturing process, as well as bringing a rail spur from the nearby Norfolk-Southern railroad line, according to Shea MacMillan, vice president of economic development with the Youngstown Warren Regional Chamber.
“We clearly had a competitive workforce and a viable building in a critical location in the Midwest,” MacMillan said while reflecting on why M&M chose Lordstown. “Our rail infrastructure certainly proved to be important for them to come here. It’s great to see the different types of investments. This isn’t automotive, this isn’t electric vehicle related. It is plastics, which helps us diversify as a community.”
MacMillan said working with TeamNEO, the Ohio Rail Development Commission, Hill and others, the chamber was able to bring M&M to the region by putting together a competitive incentive package.
“We’re just happy to be one of the cogs,” MacMillan said. “They tout the family and the second-generation family business that they are and that’s the exactly the type of business we want for our community.”
Mayor Hill said he is glad M&M has already outgrown its original space. He noted that when M&M first came to look at the area, they had promised 106 jobs, and this expansion will help bring them toward that figure.
“M&M has been a great addition to our community,” Hill said. “You know every company who has come to Lordstown has been a fantastic neighbor and M&M has been right up there at the top with all of them.”
Hill noted more companies are looking at the Lordstown area because of its skilled workforce, infrastructure and tax abatement programs.
Pictured at top: Tammy Tomlin, a production worker at M&M, and Glenn Morris, CEO, show one of the pails made at the plant.