Secretary of Agriculture Sonny Perdue and Linda McMahon, head of the U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA), toured Celina Tent Inc. in April as a stop on Perdue’s third “Back to Our Roots” RV tour.
Jeff Grieshop, owner of the Celina, Ohio-based manufacturing company, says that the visit came about because of the company’s recent expansion and connections to the agriculture and defense industries. In addition to party tents and military shelters, Celina Tent manufactures engineered fabric products including decontamination and biosecurity products and enviromental barriers.
“Between buildings, equipment and investments we’ve made into our facilities, we’ve utilized several funding sources, one of them being the SBA,” Grieshop says.
The visit highlighted that the company is a small U.S.-based manufacturer and not a shell or services company, he says.
“One of the issues we brought up was the lack of Berry-compliant products available within the military shelter market,” Grieshop says. The Berry Amendment requires the Department of Defense to give preference in procurement to domestically manufactured products, including fabrics.
“We also talked about us growing in a market that has traditionally been offshore,” he says. “It’s kind of unique to manufacture large industrial textile products in the U.S.”
Visiting Ohio, Michigan and Kentucky, the tour highlighted growth in manufacturing in rural communities.
“As small business optimism continues to rise, it is important that we work to create a better economic environment for rural America to thrive,” McMahon said in a press release. “The United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) and SBA are teaming up to develop actions based on the complementary strengths of the two organizations to promote rural development.”