Miller Metal awarded $265K grant for expansion project
BRIDGEVILLE — Delaware small business success story Miller Metal Fabrication has been awarded a little more than quarter million dollars in state taxpayer-backed funding to fuel its longstanding plan to expand operations in Sussex County.
The Bridgeville fabricated sheet metal company was awarded $265,250 by the Council on Development Finance (CDF) to build a new 60,000-square-foot warehouse and hire roughly 19 more employees. Miller Metal Fabrication will reportedly invest $7 million in the new facility, including in land acquisition, construction and fit-out costs.
The company has not made any final decisions on funding the expansion at this point, according to company officials.
“It’s gotten to the point where our team can’t move without bumping into something, and it can get overwhelming with the raw materials we need to have on hand,” Miller Metal Fabrication senior account manager Martin Miller III said. “We’re incredibly appreciative to the state and the Delaware Prosperity Partnership for this funding as well as the opportunity to keep jobs in Delaware.”
Breaking down the grant figures, the CDF granted Miller Metal a jobs performance grant of $57,350 for creation of 19 jobs, including relocating some positions from its Greensboro, Md., plant. Projections put the company at 117 employees in the next three years. Miller Metal will also offer on-site and remote technical training to its production workers.
In addition, the state awarded a $207,900 to help pay for some site renovations. The hope is that Miller Metal will be able to downsize the Greensboro facility or maintain a smaller shipping operation in Maryland. In both cases, approximately six positions would be relocated to the First State.
“We strongly believe this new ‘world class’ production facility will be an integral part of our long-term growth strategy,” Miller Metal owner Martin W. Miller Jr. said in a prepared statement. “We are extremely appreciative to have the State of Delaware support in this effort.”
Miller Metal designs, cuts, bends, welds, assembles and ships a wide range of metal components. Serving a large and diverse number of customers throughout the nation. With CNC laser cutting and robotic cutting, the company has run on lean manufacturing techniques.
Since 2018, Miller Metal has been looking to grow its presence at the intersection of the U.S. Route 13 and Newton Road as business continues to boom. The company first started in 1984 by Miller Jr., a food processing equipment inventor who created manufacturing solutions such as machines that twisted pretzels and packed potatoes. Translating that success in machinery, Miller Metal first started as a 2,500-square-foot shop in a Bridgeville backyard.
With a new warehouse next door to its existing one, it would double its existing space. Miller Metal revenue is up 25% from 2020, but Martin Miller said that part of that can be attributed to inflation for raw material costs.
“But there is a greater increase with automation in the packaging industry like Amazon, so we are seeing some of that demand come in for pieces to do that job,” Miller III told the Delaware Business Times.
The CDF award is not the first time that Miller Metal received state funding for this project. In 2020, the company received $313,000 from the Transportation Infrastructure Investment Fund (TIIF) to construct a new entrance that will not disrupt traffic on Newton Road.
Earlier this year, Sussex County Economic Development Director Bill Pfaff hoped to offer Miller Metal $5 million out of the Excite Sussex loan program — the largest to date — but the company has not made a final decision on funding the project.