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D.L. George moving to former Landis site

March 23, 2009

WAYNESBORO, Pa. -- D.L. George & Sons soon will move its manufacturing division to the former Landis Tool Co. site, a massive complex the company hopes to convert into a business park, company officials said Monday.

D.L. George & Sons has formed another corporation, GEOFAM, to buy the entire one-time precision-grinding equipment plant on Sixth Street in the Borough of Waynesboro, according to John George of D.L. George & Sons.

The site has 500,000 square feet of buildings, he said.

"We could bring different manufacturers in there," George said.

D.L. George & Sons, which is based on Midvale Road in Washington Township, operates with three divisions -- construction, manufacturing and transportation. Of its 170 employees, 52 manufacturing workers will transition into the division's new home in town.

Many of them will now be able to walk to work, manufacturing manager Phillip Van Deuren said.

"They're all very happy to go," he said.

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"It's great for the community to have a home-grown business in what is the most significant industrial building in the community," said L. Michael Ross, president of the Franklin County (Pa.) Area Development Corp.

Cinetic Landis Grinding Corp., formerly Landis Tool Co., moved its operations to Washington County, Md., in 2008. The property was owned by Intermec Inc. of Everett, Wash.

D.L. George & Sons does subcontracted work in its machine shop, Van Deuren said. Capabilities include threading, powder coating, wet paint, welding and fabricating, he said.

The company has computer numerical controlled (CNC) machine tools and a 6,000-watt laser cutter, Van Deuren said. Departments like wet paint and fabrication are doing well despite the economy, he said.

"For the most part, we're fairly steady," he said.

Company officials say their biggest task will be developing a transition plan to move the manufacturing operations effectively. They don't have a firm time frame for the move, but George said they want to make it happen as soon as reasonably possible.

"We can't just stop production and not fulfill our customer needs," Van Deuren said.

Although the manufacturing operations will only use 10 percent of the new site, the space is two times larger than what the manufacturing employees currently have. Their old space on Midvale Road will be dedicated to the trucking operations, George said.

"This is (founder Dave George's) hometown, so he wants to do what's best. His commitment to the community is to be applauded," Ross said.

Ross praised the parties involved with the sale, saying they've kept a major industrial site from sitting vacant for years and decaying.

"It makes me feel better than someone coming in with a warehouse," said Lee Layman, who worked for Intermec to manage the property while it was closed.

Layman started working at Landis Tool Co. in 1961 and was overseeing the buildings when he retired in 2001. Layman, on Intermec's behalf, obtained demolition contracts for some of the 100-year-old buildings to make the property more marketable, but that demolition never happened.

"I was showing some people around and it was word-of-mouth," said Layman, who said there were three potential buyers for the site.

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