Photo provided of a group of the Babbiting Services Inc crew in the Wellsville facility
By Andrew Harris
Babbiting Services Inc., CEO Kris Farrar has a message for Wellsville: Our successful manufacturing business is ready to grow in our Bolivar Road location. The development of our neighboring properties must be carefully considered. Farrar’s business, BSI, is working out of the old “Bo-Ge” machine shop facility.
The growing company is less than comfortable with the proposed Walgreens and Quicklees convenience store that developers would like to build less than 100 feet from the small manufacturing facility. If the plans that have been approved today for that property become reality, BSI will have a real trucking problem. The plans for the Walgreens development do not define where BSI tractor trailer traffic will flow.
As it stands, BSI is two years into a five year lease with a property manager Great Dane Properties, LLC. That lease includes right of way access to the facilities loading dock from Bolivar Road. Based on that firms website, the property is for sale and notes, “Build to suit.”
The blue triangle indicates were a Walgreens and Quicklee’s propose to be built, alongside the truck access which BSI depends. As it stands, the town of Wellsville has approved the plans for the “drive thru” Walgreens, work could begin next month. Quicklee’s developers have just begun the permit process with the town, which has created some understandable angst at BSI.
According to company CEO Kris Karrar, the company has over $1 million dollars invested in the facility to date and intends to invest much more as the business grows. Maybe more importantly, BSI is, as Farrar quips, “putting the team back together.”
The closure of what was “Dresser Rand” and GE Lufkin, which was Rotating Machine Technology(RMT,) displaced a large group of skilled trades workers. BSI chose Wellsville because of the labor pool and a strong working relationship with former Lufkin manager Luke Kelly. Karrar saw a big opportunity in Wellsville and has been very happy with the results to date.
The specialty manufacturer is methodically building a business that Karrar believes will employ up to twenty people in the next few years, assuming they can grow.
“I can’t grow a facility without the proper conduit. We see three to four tractor trailer loads per week at this point and we’d love to have six to eight,” the CEO explains.
This conduit must remain open for the business to achieve it goal, limiting that pipeline of materials and products in anyway is a threat to BSI and those they employ. Farrar’s expectations from the developer and the town of Wellsville are simple: Please provide us a site plan that protects our interests and respects the lease we have in place.
Town planning board leader and ex-town supervisor Darwin Fanton has been in contact with BSI and says that the planning board will be taking up the issue at the upcoming March 2nd meeting. The decisions made at that meeting are only advisory for the most part and the full town board will have to make the final decision on the next steps. That meeting will be next Wednesday March 2nd, 7pm at the temporary town office at the Wellsville Municipal Airport. This meeting is open to the public.
The actions of the town will dictate what steps BSI will take to protect their interests. Farrar indicates that the company has asked the town and Great Dane Properties LLC to provide site maps and plans which clearly address the right of way concerns. To date, those plans have not been provided and they have not received any communication from Great Dane Properties in recent months.
If Farrar and BSI’s interests are not addressed, the company is ready to ask the courts to protect those interests. “We’ve contacted two different law firms about our concerns and we are ready to go that route if necessary. But let me be clear in saying that taking this to court would be the last thing we want.”
The Wellsville Sun asked Farrar if the Allegany County Industrial Development Agency or Office of Development has been involved in resolving the matter. To that question the CEO quipped, “We’ve tried to make contact in the past and have not had any response. BSI has never received any assistance from local development agencies, we haven’t even received replies to the emails we have sent Craig Clark of Allegany County.”
Considering the rhetoric used in local development that stresses the importance of manufacturing, the lack of interest puzzles Farrar.
“BSI is committed to Wellsville and trying to salvage the remnants of the local manufacturing industry. We’ve never received any help and to be honest, we are kind of used to that. We do need Wellsville, Allegany County, and Great Dane Properties to respect our interests and carefully consider a resolution to our concerns.”