Local, state and federal officials gathered at Tacony Manufacturing in St. James on May 25 to celebrate the company's 70th anniversary. The company was honored by the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) and the Missouri Senate.
Jim Fleming, Tacony plant manager, welcomed a large crowd to the anniversary celebration and introduced all the dignitaries who were in attendance. "Today, we're celebrating and recognizing three things," he said. "The success of Tacony Corporation in the past 70 years. The commitment that the Tacony family has to the domestic production and distribution of the best floor care products for residential and commercial use. And the success that is possible when governmental entities and business work together.
Sometime in late August 2014, Tacony produced its two millionth vacuum. As of May 1, 2016, Tacony has made the following: 2,182,625 upright vacuums, 90,686 commercial floor dryers, repaired 91,891 vacuums, upgraded 159,987 imported vacuums, produced 10,305 zone heaters, produced 15,278 industrial vacuums for Tornado, Powr-Flite and Truvox, made 10,351 premium canisters since bringing back production from Taiwan in 2009.
"The decision to go against the tide and bring manufacturing to the U.S. 18 years ago was a leap of faith," Fleming said.
All of Tacony's competition has moved to low-labor-cost countries and cheapened their products, Fleming noted. Tacony is in a global fight for its markets and through the efforts of its employees and the help of various agencies, it has been able to survive and continue to commit to new products being made here.
"We started with five employees and this morning we have 119," Fleming said. "Our associates have been very active in our community by serving on various boards, volunteering for a plethora of local events and making St. James a destination point with the introduction of the Vacuum Museum.
Among those who came to mark the anniversary was the USDA Rural Development State Director Janie Dunning. Tacony's plant in St. James was helped in its beginning with a $53,600 grant awarded to the city of St. James by the USDA to help renovate an old shoe factory that served as Tacony's first local home.
"We are honored to be here to celebrate the 70th anniversary of Tacony Manufacturing," Dunning said. "Nearly 20 years ago, Rural Development was a partner in the renovation of their facility, and today they are still providing great resources to the area. It's always exciting to see business in a rural area thriving and creating job opportunities to the community. Many congratulations to Tacony Manufacturing.
The Tacony Corporation has been in business since 1946 and what began as a small, family-owned business has now evolved into a large business being a distributor, manufacturer, wholesaler and marketer of a variety of products. The St. James factory builds vacuum cleaners and parts, while the company's headquarters is located in Fenton, MO.
Fleming also introduced staff members representing U.S. Senators Clair McCaskill and Roy Blunt and Congressman Jason Smith, in addition to State Senator Dan Brown, who presented the company with a proclamation from the senate, State Representative Jason Chipman, and county commissioners Randy Verkamp and Larry Stratman. Brief presentations were also made by Tacony Corporation CEO Kristi Tacony Humes, and Senior VP of Home Floor Care John Kaido.
In addition to receiving $53,600 in 1997 to help renovate the building used as Tacony's first manufacturing plant in St. James, the city also received another $27,000 to help get Tacony off the ground. In 2005, the city received another $226,000 to help complete the paving of Industrial Drive to service Tacony's current facility.
Tacony has also worked with various state and federal agencies to take advantage of Enterprise Zone tax credits, job training, veteran employee tax credits, international trade, job applicant testing, youth employee training and more.
by Rob Viehman, The St. James Press