A Canadian company bought the first building built in the Pikeville industrial park. They plan to build tanks that are assembled on the bodies of trucks that carry fuel, water and other liquids.
If this sounds familiar to you, it’s because the building was originally built for another company, Silverliner, a start-up that wanted to build tanks but didn’t survive. A start-up is difficult to do. Add a pandemic and you have a recipe for disaster, which happened to Silverliner.
Silverliner had no choice but to shut down and file for bankruptcy, which was a travesty. It was a local, locally owned start-up that had the support of the city, local banks and the community for its success. They have given the region a glimmer of hope.
When the Silverliner bankruptcy article appeared in this journal in 2020, people in the tank construction industry circulated this article, which ultimately ended up in the hands of a business owner. which builds tanks in Canada and holds a significant share of the tank market. in the USA.
The Canadian company is one of the largest tank builders in North America, so naturally they were interested in local construction and operation. The owner called me and made an appointment to visit this area. His intention was to buy this building and build tanks in Pikeville. But he wanted to see the facility and talk to local authorities before making any commitments. He was here for three days and made the commitment he wanted to be in Pikeville.
This industrial park has had a lot of negative waves associated with it. Originally, Alltech intended to set up a sustainable fish and chicken farm on the mountain. It was while they were building the distillery downtown. When the owner died, so did the dreams of the chicken and the fish. Now the distillery is barely brewing and they have canceled their plans to have a restaurant and become a tourist destination.
Two other start-ups have looked at the park in hopes of establishing a foothold on the mountain. They both had good intentions and had a decent plan to not only do things but also employ a lot of people. Enerblu and AppHarvest approached the city with big ideas, which at the time did not have the appropriate funding readily available.
Both companies needed a large facility, approximately 1 million square feet under one roof. Since this park is on old strip work and the earth is still settling, a 1 million square foot facility is out of the question. Enerblu went bankrupt and AppHarvest moved to Morehead. AppHarvest went public last year.
There comes a proposal for another start-up, Silverliner, owned by a local person who had every intention of succeeding. The city took a leap of faith and did everything it could to help the start-up. Now was not the right time to start a business.
The Canadian company has been building tanks for many years and has a backlog of orders in the United States. A reasonable person might assume that, since this is an existing and successful business, the move to Pikeville should be a smooth transition. Silverliner’s bankruptcy has been blocked in court, and everyone involved in the takeover of the new company has been overly cautious in their business dealings, creating more hurdles than necessary.
The owner of the Canadian business visited me and I showed him around the area. He was so impressed that he made the decision to tackle this building and use local resources and talent to locate his new business in Pikeville.
Since then, the new owners have partnered up with Big Sandy Community and Technical College and started a welding program, made arrangements with local banks to open accounts for their business, started the recruiting process, and made arrangements with local banks to open accounts for their business. plan to start manufacturing tank bodies next summer.
A lot of people were skeptical at first for good reason. Banks and the town of Pikeville were also skeptical. This is all understandable. This region has already been set on fire and each party must have been overly suspicious of a stranger coming to save the industrial park.
Due diligence has been done, the building is now in the possession of the Canadian company, Platinum Tank Group, and they will call this division Appalachian Tank, Inc. You will not find Appalachian Tank through a Google search yet because the company was just from form. And as the bankruptcy hearing progressed, everything had to be kept under wraps.
While we remain cautiously optimistic, it is time for us to support the efforts of all entities who wish to settle in this region. When that first tank rolls off the assembly line in the summer of 22, people will feel more comfortable in this business. Perhaps this is the silver lining we need to help revitalize our regional economy.
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