Cargill’s Windsor facility benefits northern Colorado community, attracts new companies

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WINDSOR — While the addition of Cargill’s new facility in Windsor’s Great Western Industrial Park brings immediate jobs and growth to the area, the company’s strong customer base could mean more economic growth down the line.

“Any company that comes into town and buys the land and builds a building will, right off the bat, make a significant impact on the community,” said Windsor Director of Economic Development Stacy Johnson. “Their diversity in their industry is huge for us and shows a stability is there. They’re a stable, global and community-conscious organization.”

Though its new facility in the Industrial Park on the western edge of town has been in operation since October, Cargill officials welcomed residents to tour its 60,000-square-foot facility recently.

Their facility includes three, 30-ton overhead cranes, 2,000 linear feet of rail and direct access to the park’s two railroads – the BNSF Railway and the Union Pacific Railroad – which provides a “competitive freight advantage on inbound raw materials,” Facility Manager Briggs Anderson said.

The company’s 12 employees — which could expand to 25 if business allows — operate the 3,000-square-foot office space and the facility’s processing machine that straightens out any roll of steel ranging between 16-gauge and .5 inch for hot roll steel and plates.

“Any time you can bring in manufacturing type jobs into the community it really diversifies your employment opportunities.— John Vazquez, Windsor mayor

“It’s consistent with what the Cargill market sells into,” Anderson said. “It’s the bread and butter of hot roll steel.”

Town officials feel that the addition of Cargill’s facility is in part due to the attractive location and local economy.

“When businesses like Cargill come in they see that we have everything that they need (to succeed),” said Windsor Chamber of Commerce Executive Director Michal Connors.

Beyond their health as an individual company, however, park and town staff feel optimistic Cargill customers — such as Texas-based Crall Products, Inc., which recently purchased a $1.3 million lot in the park — will follow the steel service center to the region.

“Something similar has happened a number of times where companies expand or bring in partners of their supply chain,” said Pierre-Luc Mathieu, chief strategy officer of OmniTRAX, an affiliate of The Broe Group.

Town staff hopes business will continue to grow for Cargill — which has the potential to expand to a 120,000-square-foot facility with increased business — and the new industry will help attract other companies to the town.

“Any time you can bring in manufacturing type jobs into the community it really diversifies your employment opportunities,” Mayor John Vazquéz said. “It always benefits the region and when it creates a new job opportunity it benefits of all of Weld County.”

The local operations help the Windsor community by giving back through property taxes and help to draw new economic development to the region both in and outside of the park, Johnson said.

Cargill first came into northern Colorado in 2011 with a leased 18,000-square-foot distribution center in Fort Collins. Shortly after seeing the appeal of the market, which provided them customers from oil and gas to trucking, they decided to expand.

“We quickly discovered that the market provided a lot of opportunity out here and started the search in 2012 for (a second) location and by 2013 we were really starting to get fixed on northern Colorado,” Anderson said.

After talking with the Great Western Industrial Park, Cargill officials purchased their current location in 2013 and broke ground on the $15 million project in March 2014.

Full operations began in late October of last year, though the formal ribbon cutting was held off for better weather, Anderson said.

The company services customers from the Rocky Mountains to as far west as California.

Part of the draw to northern Colorado came from its existing customers who pushed them to look at the region for operation expansion, Anderson said.

“We look for places where our customers need to be served,” he said.

Cargill’s new Windsor facility not only provides new jobs for the community, but a commodity model that helps serve their customer and ensure a stable steel purchasing price in the fluctuating market.

The company uses a mix of domestic and foreign raw materials to create their steel rolls. From there, they operate with a heavy trade platform, which enables them to offer customers the option to lock in at one price for up to 18 months or buy in as-needed bundles with less weight on the market price, Anderson said.

“We have a pretty unique commodity proposition,” he said.“We’re optimistic about the market here and, though we’d like to see the oil and gas industry come back a bit more, we have a very diverse customer base,” Anderson said.