Began 45 years ago, during sag in mining
As people discuss the idea of diversifying industry in the Carbon County area they sometimes forget that the first real organized entity that was put in place over 45 years ago still exists to do just that.
That theme was resonated by Richard Tatton who spoke at the Business Expansion and Retention meeting on April 3.
"Pro-Carbon began when the automation of the mines really started to affect employment in the area," he told the group. "Coal had a turndown and employment was falling. Business people in the area began to realize that something needed to be done."
The entity is a private corporation with a board of directors and it still seeks to find business to relocate or start up in the Carbon County area.
The orginal articles of incorporation were drafted by Judge Boyd Bunnell and after it was established the company sold shares to fund it.
No capital gains
"The way it is set up the shares can never gain value," said Tatton.
In the late 1960's the corporation convinced Levi to bring a sewing plant to Price. It was called Koret of California and the corporation built a building for them that still stands and is occupied by GCR Tire on south Carbon Avenue today.
"The company made the payments on the lease and at one point the plant was running three shifts," said Tatton. According to the book The History of Carbon County by Ronald G. Watt local citizens pledged more than $70,000 to build the building and when it opened in August of 1968 90 people were employed at the plant.
"The plant lasted for many years," said Tatton. "Then the imports of clothing took down that business."
What followed was a different situation. Another company moved in, Three Rivers West, but they didn't pay their rent properly nor even the utilities. When they left the building Classic Cabinets moved in for a few years. For the last eight years GCR Tire has been in the building and things have been good.
"The mortgage is now paid and the company has to pay taxes on the cash that is being saved," stated Tatton.
While what many in the area know as the "Koret's Building" is the best known part of what Pro-Carbon has accomplished other things have been done and some near misses on businesses were worked on but not achieved.
"One that we thought we were going to get was a Tartar Gate plant," said Tatton.
Tartar Gate builds gates and panels for farm animal enclosures.
"The fact is we had things going well but then the company got Corrinne (in northern Utah) to build a house for their manager and the plant was built there," he said.
Tatton explained that Pro-Carbon is not a lending organization, but a job creation program. And it is still a very viable organizations today.
"We will look at any kind of business to work with," he said.