Ranger Die moved to its new location in Coopersville to ease some logistics issues the company was experiencing. Courtesy NAI Wisinski
The former Best Packaging building in Coopersville is about to become the new best home for Ranger Die Inc.
The longtime Walker-based manufacturer recently closed with Coastal Container on the 107,000-square-foot building that has sat vacant for more than three years. Ranger Die, which has been in Walker since 1955, will begin moving soon and plans to be up and running with its 95 employees at 1300 W. Randall St. by October.
Ranger Die does tooling and metal stamping. The company designs and builds tooling that is statistically capable and ready to print. It also is an ISO-registered metal-stamping facility that ships 1.5 million parts each month.
But despite its success, the company had a logistics problem. Ranger Die has grown since it moved into its current, landlocked location 20 years ago and needed more space. In addition, the company has been operating out of two plants on Kinney Avenue that are across the street from each other. The two buildings gave Ranger Die a total of 68,000 square feet, which was enough room for years. But running production out of two buildings meant employees had to run across Kinney Avenue on a regular basis.
“We’ve been functioning since 1993 out of two buildings. We currently use 68,000 square feet, and this building we’re going to is 107,000. So there is more square footage, but it also gets us under one roof,” said Leo Raap, who bought the firm with his brothers, Steve and Joe, six years ago. Leo has worked there for 39 years.
“It had worked for us, but we’re too crowded now. There isn’t any place to add on here, so it just made sense to find a bigger spot where we could all get into one place,” he added.
Leo Raap said when he first looked at the Best Packaging structure, it seemed too large for Ranger Die.
“But in the end, after working with NAI (Wisinski) and Coopersville, we decided it was the right thing to do,” he said.
NAI Wisinski of West Michigan brokered the transaction. Stan Wisinski represented Ranger Die in the deal. Stu Kingma did the same for Coastal Container.
The new building will give Ranger Die 11,300 square feet of office space, 10 loading docks, six drive-in doors and ceilings that rise as high as 26 feet. The building sits on 4.6 acres, is made of pre-engineered steel, has a security system and enough parking spaces for 69 vehicles. The asking price was $2.1 million. The sale price was not disclosed.
Coastal Container bought Best Packaging in late 2009 and moved the business from Coopersville to Holland, where the company is located. According to Ottawa County records, Coastal Management Services LLL bought the building for $600,000.
Ranger Die has listed its building at 2024 Kinney Ave. NW for sale. The company leased the building across the street from the wife of the firm’s previous owner.
Leo Raap said the company has to make a few renovations to the building to change it from a warehouse and showroom into a manufacturing facility. He said he will need a lot more than two men and a truck to move from Walker to Coopersville.
“We’ve got a bunch of die-shop equipment and 22 presses ranging from 45 tons to 1,500 tons,” he said. “We hope to be in there by late September or early October — before the snow flies.”