Stober Drives expands its presence in community

As Stober Drives Inc. moves into its 22nd year in Maysville, the company has recently expanded its business operations on Downing Drive.

When the company opened its assembly plant in 1991, it was located just down the road on Industrial Drive.  In 1997, Stober moved operations to its current 32,000 plus square foot location.

As the only assembler plant for the German-based company in the U.S., the Maysville plant has experienced steady growth over the years and in 2012, found itself cramped for space in its 15-year-old building.

Plans were made to move into a vacant, 50,000-square-foot building purchased by Stober in 2009, just across the street from the current plant.  The move has eliminated the need for off-site storage space and will allow the company to expand its manufacturing division, which is a priority of the Maysville plant.

Plant Manager Lee Thomas credits the company’s steady growth to the diversification of its customer base.  Customers who purchase Stober gear boxes range from food and beverage manufacturers to industrial fan manufacturers.

“We sell to an end user market,” Thomas said of Stober’s client-base.

Expansion plans began in May 2012 and were completed over Thanksgiving weekend, when employees volunteered their time to move the assembly lines and supply of parts into the new plant.  Thomas said the four-day holiday provided a time when the plant was closed and wouldn’t interrupt fulfillment of customer orders.  The move was completed on time, and production was up and running Monday morning.

“We were waiting on a good time to move,” said Kyle Maddox, an industrial engineer apprentice at Stober.  Maddox worked with company officials to design the layout of the new plant.

Amy Appelman, marketing coordinator at Stober, said the company expects increased sales revenue in 2013.  She said the increases can be attributed to a customer base choosing to do upgrades to its material handling systems, rather than staying with older components in need of repair or ones that are less cost effective.

After 22 years in the Buffalo Trace Region, Appelman said the company is working to raise community awareness of Stober’s presence in Maysville.

With its core business focused upon the assembly of gear boxes, Stober is the supplier of gear boxes to the Lexington-based company, Big Ass Fans.  The new plant boasts three of the massive ceiling fans, which push the air down for a more efficient air flow.  The fans are just one aspect of a “greener” plant, according to Maddox and Thomas.  The lights in the new plant are all T-5 bulbs, which use less energy.  The lights are on timers and motion sensors, insuring when the building is empty at night or an office is not in use during the day, no electricity is wasted.

“We’ve got the same number of people, but in more space that allowed additional capacity in shipping and painting,” said Thomas.  “The manufacturing department has plans to grow, we couldn’t do that due to the (limited) space … we want to grow manufacturing in Maysville and increase Stober U.S. manufacturing.”

A worker completes his task on the assembly line inside the new addition at Stober Drives on Thursday.

Stober Drives is located near the intersection of Kentucky 9 and the Clyde T. Barbour Parkway west of Maysville.