MOUNT VERNON — Markt Solutions has bought the 13,000-square-foot former controls building in Heartland Commerce Park from the Knox County Land Reutilization Corp, aka land bank, for $350,000.
“We hope to start operations in May. That gives us time to do remodeling and updates to the building,” Todd Taylor, president of Markt LLC, said.
Space is the driving force behind the company’s move from 1095 Harcourt Road to the commerce park. Markt owns the 12,000-square-foot building it operates out of, but other tenants rent some of that space.
“If we have to evict a tenant because of needing more space, more than likely that company would leave Knox County. That became part of the conversation,” Taylor said. “Now we’re able to keep that business in town.”
The Harcourt Road building is the screen printing company’s third location in the last 15 years.
“We are excited for more space. We’ve just grown, needing more square footage and space. This feels like the best [move] yet,” Taylor said.
Rebounding quickly in 2021 after COVID-19, Taylor said the company thought it might soon need more space.
“We doubled the size of our team last year in 2022. As sales increased, we needed more people to do the work. We have the people, we have the equipment. Now we need the space. This continues the growth and keeps us invested,” he said of the move.
Noting there is a lot of talk about how Intel might affect the county, Taylor said, “Don’t forget about the people here: local companies with local teams. It’s fun to see local businesses as well because they are already hiring from the community for however long they’ve been here.”
Taylor is interested in economic development and serves as president of Experience Mount Vernon.
“After talking with the ADF (Area Development Foundation) about their vision for the commerce park, I wanted to get in on the ground floor because we’ll get to see the growth,” he said.
Lacy Filkins, executive director for Experience Mount Vernon, will move her office into Markt’s new space. Markt will also provide storage space for the organization.
“She’s operating out of the basement of Park National Bank now. It will be a good move for Experience Mount Vernon to be able to get more space. This is a big move for her, too,” Taylor said.
Markt’s initial investment in the former controls building will be about $50,000, primarily for electrical work and building out the extra space.
“We don’t need to do much. I’ll have a better grasp tomorrow and Wednesday when we go through it with our contractor,” Taylor said. “The bones of it are perfect for us, which is what attracted us to it.”
Taylor said the company will tackle exterior cosmetic renovations such as paint, landscaping, lighting, and signage over the next few years. The goal is to give an updated feel while staying true to the roots of the 100-year-old factory building.
Taylor does not anticipate adding additional staff or printing presses in 2023 but said the company has already seen significant growth this year.
“Things change quickly. Hopefully this extra space will allow us to keep growing,” he said.
Markt Solutions is the second tenant to buy space in the commerce park. The Ohio Mint started operations in the former three-bay testing facility in 2021 under a lease-to-own agreement. The company exercised its option to buy in August 2022.
“This fits in with our vision of having a multi-use park, and our vision looks for the buildings to be used for the purpose which they were built for: office for office, industrial for industrial,” Jeff Gottke, president of the ADF and land bank, said of Markt’s purchase. “This was flexible space, so it’s good to see a user use the building for its intended purpose.”
Gottke said a lot of industrial tenants were interested in the space, but the ceilings were too low.
“It really takes finding the right user that fits the building,” he said. “This opens up Todd’s current spot for another company to move into town. There’s one more space available, which is pretty limited around here.”
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