FORT MOHAVE — A company that produces and sells safes for the corporate world is relocating its manufacturing operation from Riverside, California, to Fort Mohave.
Owner Kelly Corson said an unfriendly business environment prompted his decision to leave high cost of living, excessive taxes and burdensome permit and fee requirements behind in California.
Corson said he contemplated moving his business to Texas before focusing more on northwest Arizona, mostly because he has enjoyed a Colorado River recreation home in Mohave Valley for 18 years. And he credited Mohave County Economic Development Director Tami Ursenbach for helping with his site selection decision.
“She made it very, very inviting,” Corson said of Ursenbach. “She has been an absolute angel.”
Corson said Ursenbach, and other county team members, including planner Scott Holtry, helped him navigate the bureaucratic process and potential project roadblocks.
Corson Built Incorporated generally manufactures safes in bulk orders, frequently for business chains.
“We make most of our safes for the retail and clothing store industry,” Corson said. “Our end user for instance would be Jack in the Box, Cheesecake Factory, Buffalo Wild Wings, Wendy’s, Petco — those kinds of places — Ross Dress For Less, Joann’s Fabrics.”
Corson Built safes generally are used by store managers and other employees to store currency, cash drawers, gift cards, coupons, receipts and other paperwork.
“They are safes that go into stores that the employees generally use for drops,” Corson said. “They may drop into the safe. They may take money out. There’s all kinds of configurations based on whoever is in charge of their cash-handling policies.”
Annual safe sales, he said, typically average in a range between 1,200 to 1,500 units. He noted the company built 800 safes in the last four months of 2016 for a cell phone company and that sometimes an order can be filled in 24 hours if all materials are on hand.
Corson noted his operation doesn’t really cater to much walk-in customer traffic and does not build gun safes. The company is vertically integrated.
“We don’t source anything out to anybody else,” Corson said. “We make every single part that we put on our safes here in our facility, every single little piece of material is made in-house (except electronic and mechanical locks).”
The enterprise is transitioning from a 4,200 square foot production center in Riverside to a one-acre parcel with two buildings that will total about 10,700 square feet. Some building renovation activity is underway and Mohave Electric Cooperative is upgrading power capacity to the site in the 5000 block of Lakewood Road, off Highway 95.
Corson said four of his employees are moving to Arizona to work at the Fort Mohave location. Limited, initial operation is expected by mid-June with production ramping up through the end of the month.
Corson said he eventually could have a dozen employees at his new location, but that client demand is hard to measure at present given economic uncertainty during the COVID-19 pandemic.