MassDevelopment

Toolmaker gets $2.8 million tax-exempt bond for factory at old Oxford Pickle site in South Deerfield

January 28, 2019 : The Republican, by Jim Kinney


Eric Hagopian is moving his combined cutting tool businesses — the duMONT Company and Hassay Savage Company — to the former Oxford Pickle factory site in South Deerfield in part so he can attract trained machinists from southern Franklin County.

He’ll close the two company’s current locations, first Hassay Savage in the Turner Falls section of Montague on Industrial Boulevard followed by the duMONT plant on Wells Street in Greenfield.

"We already have a good relationship with Smith (Vocational and Agricultural School) in Northampton, and this allows us to even work with Westfield Technical Academy," Hagopian said. "This does a lot for our recruiting efforts."

On Monday, MassDevelopment, the state’s finance and development agency, announced that it issued a $2.8 million tax-exempt bond for the project. The money will go toward construction and equipping the 24,400-square-foot building on nearly 3 acres of vacant land.

In total, the building renovation will cost $3 million and the equipment will cost about $2 million, Hagopian said.

Shelburne Securities Corporation, a subsidiary of Greenfield Savings Bank, purchased the bond, according to MassDevelopment, in an arrangement that gives Hagopian a better interest rate than he’d otherwise be able to get.

The building is already 75 percent complete, and Hagopian plans to start moving workers and equipment in the spring.

Hassay Savage and duMONT make cutting tools called broaches, Hagopian said. Linear broaches like those his companies make go into holes that have been drilled into metal and make that hole into another shape, typically a keyway — so named because its in the shape of a keyhole. Keyways are used with driveshafts, he said.

Customers are in the automotive, aerospace and firearms industries.

DuMONT Company has been designing and manufacturing a wide array of precision keyway-style broaches since 1945 and is the largest manufacturer and supplier of push-type keyway broaches in the world.

In 2011, Hagopian, of Springfield, sold Hoppe Technologies of Chicopee. After working for the new owners of what had been his family’s company, Hagopian started looking for other opportunities.

He bought duMONT in 2016 and Hassay Savage in 2017 and formally merged them in January.

He’s already combined some operations in Greenfield. He owns the duMONT plant there, but not the Hassay Savage plant in Montague. He’ll put the duMONT building up for sale eventually.

The new plant is two-and-a-half times the size of the space he has now in both factories, so there will be plenty of room to expand. The site is approved for additions up to a total of 40,000 square feet

The companies have a combined workforce of 33. At least initially he plans to hire two or three more workers. Like all manufacturers, he also needs to replace longtime skilled machinists as they retire.

MassDevelopment financed or managed 384 projects in fiscal year 2018, generating investment of more than $4.1 billion in the Massachusetts economy. The projects are estimated to create or support 10,994 jobs and build or rehabilitate 830 housing units, according to a news release.

"MassDevelopment is all about finding creative solutions to help manufacturers grow in Massachusetts," said MassDevelopment President and CEO Lauren Liss in a statement. "We’re pleased to help owner Eric Hagopian build a new manufacturing facility and buy state-of-the-art equipment, a move that will allow The duMONT Company and Hassay Savage Company to merge under one roof, expand operations, and remain a leading producer of precision broaching tools."