PROGRESS 2024: Industry

New manufacturing plants to build in Evanston

By Kayne Pyatt, Herald Reporter
Posted 3/28/24

EVANSTON — “It’s only going to get better from here on,” Rocco O’Neill, community development director for the city of Evanston, said, “Oil and gas have bottomed …

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PROGRESS 2024: Industry

New manufacturing plants to build in Evanston


EVANSTON — “It’s only going to get better from here on,” Rocco O’Neill, community development director for the city of Evanston, said, “Oil and gas have bottomed out but we have more manufacturing in Evanston than other cities of comparable size have.”

O’Neill provided information on three manufacturing businesses that will soon start building facilities in Union Park. O’Neill works hard to reach out to small companies and share with them the advantages that Evanston and Uinta County have to offer businesses looking to relocate to the area.

The City of Evanston, represented by O’Neill, worked with the Uinta County Economic Development Commission to establish an economic development website. The website lists the advantages for business owners who choose to make Uinta County their home. 

Advantages listed on the site include these facts: Union Pacific’s main line and Interstate 80 run through the county; the area from I-80 through Evanston to the north for 12 miles is designated an Opportunity Zone and qualifies for related business grants; Evanston is about an hour away from Salt Lake City and an international airport and near the Wasatch Front, which is one of the fastest growing economies in the U.S.; affordable cost of living; costs less to buy a house or a commercial building than in the surrounding area and has low electricity rates.

The Union Center Industrial Park is only one mile from I-80. It’s located next to an 18-hole golf course; it’s close to residential neighborhoods and historic downtown Evanston. There is available land ready for development for light and heavy industrial uses, office use and research and development. The website states there are affordable shovel-ready sites, cheap energy rates and no corporate taxes.

ISA Partners, based in Oregon, manufactures rubber products: food safe gloves, lineman electrical spec gloves, dialectical gloves, protective shoe covers, nuclear spec gloves and industrial gloves. ISA products are made from natural rubber, are non-flammable and their manufacturing process is non-polluting.

ISA is the only rubber manufacturer producing these products in North America. They have an on-going contract with the U.S. Department of Defense for their products.

ISA will build its manufacturing facility on 5 acres in Union Center Industrial Park, near Kindler Drive and the entrance to the Purple Sage Golf Course. They plan to start construction of their facility spring of 2025.

Recently, owners Paul Cox and Emmylou Santos of PEAK Ventures LLC, based in Kamas, Utah, received approval from the Evanston City Council to purchase a different lot in the Union Center Industrial Park. PEAK is the holding company for APEX Performance Products, which will be located in Evanston.

Cox is a design engineer with 20 years of experience. APEX Performance manufactures specialized vehicle products, including steering upgrades and boosts, sway bars, compact reel systems, inflation and deflation products, power steering coolers and more.

The lot where APEX will build is located behind Clean Energy in Union Industrial Park. The city had earlier developed the lot for Avalon industry. Due to financial difficulties for Avalon, that agreement was later nullified. 

APEX is a small, family-owned company. The owners will start construction this summer and said they will eventually employ 25 to 55 people. According to O’Neill, the city approved a cushion in the agreement with APEX to allow them to pay the $100,000 cost of the land over three years.

The third new business to decide to make Evanston their home is Shades of Pale Brewery, which will be housed in Section 4 of the Evanston Roundhouse. Construction has already begun to prepare for a loading dock and parking area which will be constructed this spring.

“The city will start to make the interior of Section 4 tenant-ready in the next few months and we hope it will be completed by October,” O’Neill said. “We need to get the utilities and water and sewer in, also climate control, and a concrete floor poured.”

O’Neill said he has worked hard to get small businesses and manufacturing to come to Evanston. The Jumpstart program, which helps to incubate small businesses, has helped to create a healthy business climate in downtown Evanston. He said 99% of the businesses in Uinta County are small businesses.

One aspect that hinders bringing in more industry, O’Neill said, is the lack of tenant-ready commercial buildings, along with increases in rent. When the cost of properties increases, owners feel the need to increase rent, and this hurts small businesses.

“However, the sales tax already for 2024 is averaging 60 to 75% above the 10-year average,” O’Neill said. “Over the next 10 years, I think we will have the best economy in 40 years, but it will take more housing developers, retail business and industrial development.”