SOMERVILLE, MA (BRAIN)—Come May, Independent Fabrication will be welding and painting its frames in a remodeled 200-year-old mill in Newmarket, New Hampshire. The company’s new location is about an hour north of its long-time Boston location.
“We’re doubling our production area and adding a fitting area and a show room. The Atlantic and beautiful riding are just out the door,” said Gary Smith, Independent Fabrication (IF) president.
“It’s possible for American manufacturing to thrive in this day and age and the move allows us long needed expansion,” he added.
Urban development around its Somerville factory, including a nearby transit station, meant the area was no longer ideal for light industry. The landlord could make better use of their space with thousands of commuters walking by, Smith acknowledged. IF has occupied the same space since ex-Fat City Cycle employees founded it in 1995.
“I gave the employees six-month notice of the move in November. And though a group of them chose to leave the same week, I cannot say who will make the move yet. I have been contacted by some former IF employees who might be interested in coming back but I’m not ready to announce anything,” Smith added.
The company has been looking for a new location for years but for a variety of reasons, including a lack of cash flow, such a move was impossible. With IF turning its first-ever profit in 2010, and Smith’s additional investment, the move made sense now.
“Our international business is growing and the New Market location will allow us to develop a local purchase program where international customers can order their bike and visit the factory to pick it up,” Smith added.
“Plus the move allows us to switch to water-based paint, change around production and add locker rooms and showers for us, and it’s just a nicer place to work,” he said.
Smith invested in IF in 2007, becoming 80 percent majority owner in the company; other IF employees retain the remaining 20 percent. The company ownership structure will not be affected by the move.