BURRTON - Stinger Inc. considered buying the building at 302 E. Dean St. around three years ago when it was up for sale, President Karl Matlack said recently.
The company didn't buy the building, but as demand for its bale stackers increased alongside the price of hay, Matlack said he often wished it had bought it. Recently Stinger got a rare chance: a do-over.
"We were looking for more room, expanding," Matlack said.
And when the opportunity to buy the building in Burrton came up again, it was cheaper than expanding in Haven would have been, he said.
Stinger was founded in 1991, building equipment for stacking hay and straw bales. The design originated in the 1980s on the Matlack family farm between Burrton and Haven.
"We needed a way to pick up bales," Matlack said.
The first bale stacker built on the farm was made with a retired school bus, scrap iron and a lot of ingenuity, he said. When other farmers saw it at work and wanted their own, the business was born.
Stinger expanded its location in Haven three times over the years, but after the past few years the space wasn't enough.
"This basically doubled our space of the existing Haven building," Matlack said, days after moving into the new facility.
After the homemade equipment on the bus chassis, Stinger built its bale stackers on the chassis of retired New York City garbage trucks for a time, he said. They worked well because they were heavy-duty, and the motion of lifting a dumpster was similar to lifting a hay bale.
In recent years, the company has built its equipment on custom chassis. The new location will allow the company to assemble up to three bale stackers at a time with its 24 employees. Matlack said each machine takes around 500 man-hours to build.
Another advantage of the extra space at the new location is that it will allow the company to repair and refurbish machines indoors, he said. Previously that work had to be done outdoors, and demand for refurbishing was mostly in the winter, he said.