By Ken Vandruff
Doug Rogers decided he needed to make a move.
He was spending too much time and gas money shuttling between his machine shop, Air Capital Machine & Tooling Inc., in Augusta, and his material suppliers and aerospace customers in Wichita.
It took fewer than 30 days to find a larger building at 2450 S. Leonine Road – a location that Rogers believes puts him in a better geographic position to serve his customers, primarily other aerospace subcontractors, and win new contracts.
“I’m kind of a long-range person,” he says. “You don’t reap what you sow tomorrow, but if you sow the seeds right there’s a lot down the road for you.”
The new 7,500-square-foot location solves a second problem. The one-man company that Rogers bought last summer has hired four additional employees, and there’s no room to expand the existing 1,200-square-foot building.
Rogers worked with Brad Saville, president of Landmark Commercial Real Estate Inc., to hammer out the three-year lease. Terms were not disclosed, but Saville says it was within the going rate of $4 to $5 a square foot for an industrial-gross lease, where the landlord pays the property taxes and insurance on the building.
Saville says the market for the type of industrial space Rogers wanted is getting tight.
“If you want to lease a 10,000-square-foot building, you’d struggle to find three or four properties at any one given time that make any sense at all,” he says.
Air Capital will occupy 60 percent of the building’s 12,500 square feet with first right of refusal should another potential tenant consider moving into the empty space.
“We’re hoping they’ll expand into it,” says Ted Branson of Coldwell Banker Stucky & Associates, representing the property owner, who also owns several industrial buildings in the immediate area.
The building has been vacant sine previous tenant Leading Technologies Composites Inc. moved to 2626 W. May Ave. more than a year ago.
Making the Move
Rogers will relocate his business as soon as he can make arrangements with a crane company to move machinery.
He also is working on achieving AS9100B quality certification, which he says will make it easier to win contracts from customers such as the Boeing Co., Bombardier Learjet, Cessna Aircraft Co. or Raytheon Aircraft Co.
Winning those contracts would mean adding machinery and employees.
I’ve been given a lot of very positive feedback from the people we do business with, both at the subtier level and the first-tier level, that would encourage me to try and expand our operations,” Rogers says.