Auction Not the End for Falmer Manufacturing

YOUNGSTOWN, Ohio — Falmer Screw Products and Manufacturing Inc. is in the market for a new headquarters as competition from China is forcing the company to downsize.

Bidding is open on the 16,000-square-foot building at 690 McClurg Road in Boardman where Falmer Manufacturing operates. An inspection is scheduled for Friday, Jan. 25 from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m., and bidding ends Jan. 30 at 2 p.m., according to the website for Basinger Auction Service, which is managing the auction. The one-story building sits on nearly two acres.

A decrease in high-volume, screw machine work drove Falmer to put the building up for auction, said its president, Rick Dravecky. Since the late 2000s, the company has seen annual revenue drop by $250,000, as the high-volume work – at least 5,000 pieces per order – has gone to China where the parts are made for less cost, he said.

“With the type of parts that we had done in the past, there were a lot of hydraulic fittings for all types of different industries,” Dravecky said. “That work has all gone to China. We don’t have the ability to compete with them.”

At its peak, high-volume screw machine work made up close to 50% of business at Falmer with its computer numerical control, or CNC, machining work making up the rest, he said. Since then, Falmer has been running six of its high-volume machines, down from 12. And while CNC work continues to be strong for the company, its revenues aren’t enough to maintain the expense of operating in a 16,000-square-foot building, he said. The company is currently using just half of the building.

Dravecky has seen no impact on Falmer’s competitiveness, positive or negative, from the tariffs imposed on China by the administration of President Donald Trump. However, prices for raw materials “are up 25% to 30% easily,” he said. But since that is the case for the entire industry, he said, customers are still buying.

“If it was just happening to us, we’d be in big trouble,” he said. “But since it’s happening across the board, customers have no choice.”

As Dravecky plans the company’s transition, he is keeping open-minded about diversification. While similar companies have been able to take on work from the medical and aerospace industries, Falmer has maintained a core clientele of gun manufacturers as well as distributors who serve original equipment manufacturers, or OEMs.

And the CNC department at Falmer continues to stay busy serving a domestic customer base with jobs that range from 50 to 2,500 pieces, he said.

Manpower presents the biggest challenge, he said. Falmer currently employs six and “could probably use two more people,” but the company will operate lean through the auction, he said.

“Workforce is getting harder to find, but we do have some really good guys and we’ve got a good core of customers,” he said.

Falmer is working with Basinger to find its next location, Dravecky said. The company toured two locations last week and have a few others to look at. He’s considering some places outside of Boardman “where property taxes won’t be an issue,” he said.

Opening bid for the auction is $450,000, with a $550,000 price to buy it outright, according to the Basinger website. Interested parties can CLICK HERE to start bidding.

Copyright 2024 The Business Journal, Youngstown, Ohio.