BLOOMSBURG — One of the biggest makers of tractors in the world is using some pull to set up an assembly plant in Columbia County.
It was not your typical grand opening at the new lawn and farm tractor facility between Bloomsburg and Berwick.
As is tradition in India, where Mahindra is based, a ceremony involving fire and smashing coconuts for luck got the plant off to an official start of business.
“I’ve never seen a lamp lighting ceremony or been involved in a coconut ceremony,” said Dan Broadt of TPC Power Center in Bloomsburg.
Broadt’s family run business is running the operation for Mahindra. After all, TPC Power Center is a local dealer of the tractor line.
“They were looking to put a distribution center somewhere in the northeast, key was to have it near 80, 81. Because we’re doing the whole northeast corridor,” said Broadt.
Tractors are brought in from India, the tires are put on over using a crane. Then they are inspected before being shipped out all over the northeastern U.S. and even into Canada.
“Started out slow and supposed to be putting out 15 per day next week, pushing pretty hard,” said Nathan Kline of Mifflinville.
During the peak season, the Mahindra plant should employ up to 30 employees.
Jeff Hopper lost his job of 24 years when another plant closed its doors.
“That left me at nearly 60 years old without a job, applying again and trying to chase the job market down which was pretty difficult,” said Hopper.
Now Hopper and everyone attending the grand opening hope the tractors are a smashing success.