MacPherson Family Business Moves to Warren

WARREN, Ohio – Sitting next to the front door of MacPherson & Co. is a wooden counter. Resting against the wall is a blue shirt and small tools in a frame.

The keepsakes belonged to Bruce MacPherson, who founded the company in 1968. His children took over in 2019 and soon after began looking for MacPherson & Co.’s next headquarters. The company found a space in Warren and moved its operations from Berea in June.

On Monday, the company celebrated the completion of its move with a ribbon cutting. 

MacPherson & Co. manufactures safety glass, specifically making a name for itself by making impact-resistant glass. Steel mills across northeastern Ohio and western Pennsylvania have used the glass for over half a century.

One of the company’s clients is Vallourec Star in Youngstown. The two companies have worked with each other long before MacPherson moved to Youngstown.

“All of the steel mills here used to use our safety windows,” MacPherson CEO Jane MacPherson said at the ribbon cutting. “Sharon Steel, Republic Steel, LTV when it was Copperweld, and when it became Warren Steel Holdings, they used ours.”

The company is looking to develop a connection with local skilled trades programs to help fill its workforce.

MacPherson said she contacted temporary staffing agencies in Trumbull County to help find workers who would be willing to train in Berea and transition to the Warren site. The company employs 10, but the goal is to increase to 30 employees. She said the biggest hurdle is finding TIG welders.

“We’ve gone through, since we got here, about 10 TIG welders,” Jane MacPherson said. “There’s great MIG welders, we’ve been finding a lot of really great MIG welders.”

TIG stands for tungsten inert gas welding. MIG welding is a metal inert gas process.

The company invested $40,000 to renovate a former bowling alley on Mahoning Avenue to fit its needs. The building is separated into four areas: company offices, a fabrication area, a small dining hall and a meeting room. MacPherson & Co. handles the glass production while MacPherson Industries, the parent company, will oversee the dining and meeting rooms.

“Some of our friends said, ‘We really need a meeting hall in this area,’” Jane MacPherson said. “There’s not really a good-sized meeting hall in the whole county.”

The business also has another side operation. Jane MacPherson and her staff didn’t know what to do with excess wood from their projects, so she gave the employees the opportunity to create furniture in their free time. The employees’ work is sold on Etsy.

One of the reasons for the move was to diversify, expanding the company’s offerings to include manufacturing, event space and home decor. 

MacPherson’s grandfather started the first weld shop in downtown Cleveland and sold residential windows. MacPherson and her siblings look to continue the legacy, and their father’s shirt will sit at the front door.

“The ribbon [cutting] means that we’re here,” Jane MacPherson said.

Copyright 2020 The Business Journal, Youngstown, Ohio.