SIOUX CITY — Tri-Rinse, a seed box restoration and storage company, is approaching its one-year anniversary in Sioux City.
The family-owned company was founded in 1981 and is based in St. Louis. Tri-Rinse operates multiple facilities throughout the Midwest, including its newest location in Sioux City, which opened last May.
Nancy Pfankuch, a customer service manager for Tri-Rinse, said expanding to Sioux City made logistical sense for the company.
“That location serves dealers and farmers in Iowa, Nebraska, Minnesota and the Dakotas — it’s like a regional plant,” she said.
Sioux City Tri-Rinse operates out of the former Soo Tractor facility on 2525 Hawkeye Drive. Soo Tractor was a farm equipment manufacturer that had been in business since 1942, but closed all operations in 2015 due to the slumping agricultural economy.
The loss of Soo Tractor eliminated 53 jobs from the local economy. Coupled with the closing of the company’s other Sioux City location at 1400 W. First St., it also left more than 200,000 square feet of unoccupied manufacturing space.
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Staffers from the Sioux City Economic Development office worked to fill that void. Renae Billings, a Sioux City economic development specialist, worked directly with Tri-Rinse to bring the company to town.
“They were considering Sioux City and Illinois for their next choice for expansion,” she said. “They came here and we showed them several locations and they decided on a building on Hawkeye Drive.”
Marty Dougherty, economic development director of Sioux City, said that with enough forewarning his office will work with entities looking to conduct business in the community.
“When we get a lead, we basically are available to help," he said. "Sometimes it’s a business, sometimes it’s a developer, sometimes a commercial realtor or site-selector and depending on whether they are here now or somebody looking for a location, we show them the community, tell them about the various kind of business assistance programs that either we have or the state has and tell them about all of the great things about our community and try to meet whatever need they have.”
The nearly 150,000-square-foot Hawkeye Drive site was perfect for Tri-Rinse, which employs 19 people at the site.
“We have plants in four different cities so that we can serve regional bases so that they don’t have to send boxes all the way from Indiana to Sioux City; Indiana boxes go to our Illinois site,” Pfankuch said.
So far, Pfankuch said Tri-Rinse has been pleased with the decision to come to Sioux City.
“Location to our market was primary and then secondary was labor base,” she said. “We have another plant in Ackley, Iowa, so you know Iowa is a big state for us. You know what your three main exports up there are and it’s all farming — corn, beans and pork — and we serve two of those, corn and beans, so that’s a big reason that is appealing and location is everything to us. We want to be convenient to our customers.”