Salem Welding Cuts Ribbon on New Facility

SALEM, Ohio – An 8,000-square-foot building across the street from Salem Welding & Supply Inc. provides additional breathing space for the company and a foundation for future growth, its principals say.

“We were kind of landlocked across the street,” says Fred Baker Jr., president of Salem Welding. “Now, we’ve got property we can move on.”

This is the third expansion since Fred Baker Sr. purchased the company in 1975, says his grandson, Tom, vice president. “We’ve been working with about 40,000 square-feet and we’ve utilized all the space we have in there.”

Company employees, members of the Salem Area Chamber of Commerce, elected officials, and members of the Salem Area Sustainable Opportunity Development Center joined the Baker family at the new plant for a ribbon-cutting ceremony Thursday.

Salem Welding needed the expansion in order to keep its operations running efficiently, Tom Baker says. “This building happened to come up for sale, and it was right across the street from our current facility.”

The younger Baker says the expansion will allow for more fluid operations and provide an opportunity to break into other markets and attract other clients. The new building, he continues, has 25-ton crane capacity, which is able to handle larger fabrication jobs.

“We’ll be able to do some bigger stuff over here and keep some of the smaller stuff over in Plant 1,” he says.

Salem Welding & Supply fabricates large components such as heavy mill equipment for the steel industry, Tom Baker says. The market is suffering from a slight downturn at the moment, but he says Salem Welding’s order books are strong. “The quotes are still coming in. We have a strong backlog.”

Demand is on the increase, and it’s likely that the steel industry will require additional fabricated parts as business improves in that sector, the younger Baker says. “Signs are pointing in a positive direction and it seems to be getting better.”

Fred Baker Sr. purchased Salem Welding in 1975 when it was still a basic “fix-it shop,” Tom Baker says. “We didn’t do much fabricating, we didn’t work with many mills or large customers around here.”

That’s since changed considerably, and today the company deals with large customers as far west as Chicago. “This our third expansion, and we’re sitting on five acres of grass lot that we can really expand on, so the future’s unlimited for us.”

Salem Welding employs 26.

The new plant will include welding stations, machine tables and processing equipment such as saws and roll tables, he says. “We’re putting feelers out to see what kind of market we can capture with machinery that we don’t already have at Plant 1,” Baker says.

Mayor John Berlin says it’s heartening to see a local company move into its third generation of leadership. “That’s important. It looks like they have a very stable work force and, of course, we’d like to see them grow. “

Often, Berlin says, businesses looking to expand have a difficult time locating industrial space, especially in smaller communities such as Salem. In this case, Salem Welding’s expansion ensures that the company will remain at this site for some time.

“They’ve got five acres of land that’s zoned industrial near downtown Salem,” Berlin says. “The opportunity for them to expand is here and I’m glad to see them doing it.”

Copyright 2024 The Business Journal, Youngstown, Ohio.