Success Story: Uni-Ref of Indiana

Business Name:  Uni-Ref/United Refractories
Client:  Fred Daniels
Job Title:  VP Operations
Address:  Golden Road, Brookville, IN
County:  Franklin
Date Established:  1973
Type of Business:  Manufacturing, Refractory
# of Employees: 50
First Visit to SBDC:   September, 2012
Assistance provided:  Access to capital; incentives, human resources
Results:  Relocation to Indiana, purchase of new building, purchase of new equipment, increase in market share.

Trevor Lane with the Indiana Economic Development Corporation contacted SEISBDC business advisor, Kelly Will in 2012 with regard to a company seeking to move their operations from Ohio to Indiana. As there were incentives associated with the project, Will was asked to perform a financial analysis on the company and worked with Vice President of Operations, Fred Daniels.

Uni-Ref, a subsidiary of United Refractories Co., designs innovative, durable refractories with a focus on customer-specific needs and application. United Refractories was founded in 1973 by Raymond Niesen who later started a manufacturing facility (Uni-Ref) in Cincinnati in 1882. By 2011, they had outgrown their current facilities in Sharonville, Ohio and had a need for more space. Current expansion of the Sharonville plant was explored as well as moving to another larger facility. After looking at many sites and reviewing their expansion options, an existing facility in Brookville/Franklin County, Indiana became the best option for the company’s needs. The down side of this was the cost of reconfiguring their production lines to fit the building and the cost of moving their operation. However this larger facility in Brookville allowed Uni-Ref to expand its current production capabilities and has also allowed Uni-Ref to consolidate other manufacturing and warehousing operations into one location. 

The building acquisition cost was $2.5M and Uni-Ref incurred approximately $450,000 in moving expenses, $245,000 in new equipment and $130,000 in building modifications and repair. Uni-Ref will employ approximately 50 employees in their new location.

Since coming to Brookville we have seen a dramatic increase in customer interest in our new facilities. This interest and the added capabilities the new facility gives us has led to some significant orders that we could not have accepted at our other facility in Sharonville. We are obviously excited about what the future holds and are working very hard to make it as successful as possible.

We are also very thankful to the Southeast ISBDC in helping to make this happen. We are especially grateful to have met so many good people, neighbors, and suppliers in the Brookville area and look forward to a long relationship with them. –Fred Daniels, VP Operations