DeWitt

DeWitt, Nebraska, has suffered hard times since the closing of the Vice-Grip plant in 2008, and especially after the flooding of the Big Blue River and the Turkey and Swan Creeks in 2015.

Hand tools will be made here again, though by significantly fewer people than before.

Malco Products of Annandale, Minnesota, a company specializing in tools used in making HVAC systems, roofing and siding, plans to reopen the shuttered factory where Vise-Grip tools once were made. Plans call for hiring up to 20 people in DeWitt by the end of 2018, said Mardon Quandt, president and CEO of Malco.

Quandt declined to say what the jobs would pay but said they would be full time, with benefits, including an employee stock option. The company is 75 percent employee-owned.

Quandt said he planned to “take it slow” with the DeWitt plant and “ramp it up as things go and where it makes sense.”

Malco purchased the Vise-Grip campus on Jan. 10, with the $500,000 purchase price split by the company and the State of Nebraska through a business incentive program.

Quandt said his 150-employee company needed skilled help for its expansion and found a good fit in the skilled workforce and work ethic of DeWitt.

Malco typically sells to wholesalers, he said, but the average person could find the company’s tools at Home Depot.

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Metro columnist

Columnist Erin Grace has covered a variety of beats since she started at The World-Herald in 1998 — from education to City Hall and from the city's western suburbs to its inner-city neighborhoods. Follow her on Twitter @ErinGraceOWH. Phone: 402-444-1136.

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