Cooperative elevator being expanded


Pigeon’s Cooperative Elevator Company plans to expand its bean factory by adding a 32,000 square foot warehouse, which would increase processing capacity and increase production.

The cooperative was one of four recipients of a state Food and Agriculture Investment Fund grant in early February, and its expansion plans will triple production capacity and add four new positions.

“The Cooperative Elevator Co. is committed to our edible bean platform, the communities in which we operate and our 1,100 dedicated bosses/owners,” CEO Scott Gordon said in a statement. “This grant will go a long way in supporting our efforts to remain leaders in the spaces where we operate. It will also allow us to leverage technology to further grow our market share while remaining a viable employer in the region for years to come.

John Morey, the owner of Carrollton Township-based D&M SITE, which is working with Wolgast Corporation on this project, explained that this project was going to be a simple 100ft by 300ft addition with a 20ft by 90ft connecting corridor covered between two buildings. But then the designers came across a storm drain that runs north to south down the middle of the building.

Currently, the sewer running through the bean factory is a 36-inch-wide plastic-reinforced pipe, with plans to replace 152 feet of this pipe with reinforced concrete pipe. The elevator co-op also plans to glue 45 feet of steel casing to a concrete pipe under nearby train tracks it owns.

Tom Blome, the co-op’s director of operations, said the intention was to expand the capacity of its driving process, which can only be done by expanding its current site which contains all of its storage and processing.

“The majority will be storage space to deal with some logistical issues,” Blome said at the Huron County Planning Commission meeting last week. “We had a really hard time getting containers, trucks and everything shipped on time. This will help us get more product on the ground and store it until the trucks pass underneath.

The sewer pipe will be eight feet below and will be backfilled with compacted sand and concrete three feet above ground level, which Blome said was a safety measure due to the weight of the equipment used in the installation.

“When you’re using 6,000-pound forklifts with 2,000-pound pallets or more, you don’t want to go up and down all day,” Blome said.

The Pigeon facility manages the co-op’s dried beans, Blome adding that food safety is a concern. The building is made of precast concrete, with concrete floors and walls that are easier to clean than steel and don’t worry people about rust or pest infestations.

The Huron County Planning Commission approved these plans by a 7-0 vote, with members Todd Talaski and Cailtin Stone-Webber absent from the meeting. Blome also said the Pigeon Village Council has also approved the continuation of this project.

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