Michael Malarkey's first glimpse of what would be his company's new factory in Oklahoma City was as “Oklahoma” as the red dirt in the satellite image he was sent to inspect.
There was Hobby Lobby along SW 44 east of Council Road — and there was what looked like a little-bitty place, which executives Jim Fagan, Richard Beals and Scott McDaniel, sent here from Oregon to scout properties, were recommending.
“He looked at ours and thought, ‘Oh, that's not big enough for a manufacturing plant,'” Fagan recalled Thursday at the grand opening of Malarkey Roofing Products' new factory just north of Hobby Lobby at 3400 S Council.
Welcome to Oklahoma. Hobby Lobby's plant, at around 5 million square feet, makes everything in the neighborhood look small.
It turned out that the 110,000-square-foot factory that company chairman Malarkey's leadership team had decided on was plenty big enough — and otherwise just right — for Portland, Ore.-based Malarkey Roofing Product's third factory.
That was in October 2010. By December, Malarkey had closed on the former Rexam Beverage Can Co./National Can Co. plant and 9 acres, in a $2.15 million deal handled by industrial property broker Gerald L. Gamble, and another 20 acres adjacent in a separate $1.15 million transaction by Gamble and Randy Lacey of Grubb & Elllis-Levy Beffort.
By July 2011, Malarkey was under way with $30 million-plus in improvements that would make the place its Oklahoma home away from home. Production is under way now, with 60 workers. A second phase could add as many more, Fagan said, “as soon as everybody in Oklahoma decides that we have good product.”
Thursday, over a barbecue lunch, suppliers, state officials and others heard them brag on Oklahoma.