Malarkey Roofing is setting up shop at the crossroads of Tornado Alley and Hail Trail.
The Portland, Ore., company is on schedule to open a shingle factory at 3400 S Council Road in June, 18 months and some $30 million of investment after acquiring a former can factory in December 2010.
Malarkey has been using the plant to distribute product made in Portland for months, as it retrofits the former Rexam Beverage/National Can site. The overhaul of the place, 22,000-square-foot expansion and heavy equipment are costing Malarkey 10 times the $3.3 million it paid for the 111,075-square-foot plant and 29 acres in two transactions.
It expects its return to come on the wind and to fall out of the sky — in dime-, nickel-, quarter- and dollar-size chunks of ice.
It's family-owned Malarkey's third factory, after founder Herbert Malarkey's first venture in Portland in 1956 and a second plant opened in 2003 in South Gate, Calif., near Los Angeles.
The Portland factory distributes mainly across a swath of the country from there to Minneapolis. The Los Angeles factory distributes from there to west Texas. Malarkey's Oklahoma City factory could soon outproduce and outdistribute them both in Oklahoma and surrounding states, said Jim Fagan, company president.
Malarkey saw silver linings in the dark clouds — and hail and wind damage — of Tornado Alley, he said, so decided to expand here.
“The primary reason is this particular market is probably one of the worst areas for damage to roofing products. We happen to make roofing products that we believe would be very successful in the marketplace because of our expertise in polymer mixing, hail damage, dealing with strong winds and so on. And it happens to be in a small area around Oklahoma City,” Fagan said.
Malarkey will employ 70 people by the end of the year as phase one of its plans here get fully under way, he said. The company is participating in the Oklahoma Department of Commerce's Quality Jobs Program and could earn up to $1.9 million in benefits.