By CALVIN ADKINS
THE DAILY SOUTHERNER
Twenty-eight years ago, Chester Butler began a machine shop business at his Tarboro home after he retired from Polylock Corporation. While dipping and dabbing in the shop, his then 16-year-old son Ronnie wasn't too far away. After high school the younger Butler picked up the trade and the two became co-workers in their 2,800 square foot barn in the backyard.
Fast-forward to 2013 — Ronnie Butler and his fiancee Kelly Coley, opened a new facility that is more than three times larger than the old back yard barn.
The family celebrated the grand opening of New Vision Metal Works Friday with a formal ribbon cutting ceremony that was sponsored by Tarboro-Edgecombe Chamber of Commerce.
The machine shop is located at 112 Fairview Street, in the old Ford Motor Co. body shop. Tarboro's newest business employs four with the expectations of adding at least four more jobs in the future.
"Business in our backyard was good but it was a small shop," Ronnie Butler said. "We needed to expand and that's why we are here today."
Because of the high unemployment and economic downturn, the grand opening was a small shot in the arm for Tarboro. However, Tarboro officials applauded it.
"We're glad to have a local business to relocate from their backyard into one of the town's empty buildings," said Tarboro Town Councilman Rick Page. "Even if they don't hire no more than five employees or so, it is important to our economy. Anything that the town can do we will do it to help them."
Tarboro Town manager, Alan Thornton, echoed Page's sentiments.
"The town is pleased to have any new growth or any new development especially manufacturing and bringing back a old facility that once had life to a new birth," said Tarboro Town Manager Alan Thornton. "It's nice to see new growth new development and new opportunity in Tarboro. We are fully supportive and we wish them much success."
Bobbie Martin, president of Tarboro-Edgecombe Chamber of Commerce said, "It's always exciting for Tarboro and Edgecombe County to have new businesses. They have been in business for quite sometimes. But to open a new one, it shows that his business is striving.
The senior Butler, who was pretty much adapted to the smaller building, said he never envisioned owning a shop as large. After retiring for the second time in 2001, he turned the shop over to his son, but that doesn't keep him out of the shop. As a matter of fact, the 75-year-old veteran is one of the main machinists at New Vision.
"I was a machinist when I was in service, I worked at the shipyard as a machinist and I operated two machine shops at Polylock,” said Chester Butler. "I've been doing this for a long time. Bring me a picture of a part or a part, I can make it."
With Chester Butler's expertise and his son's energetic enthusiasm, business apparently began picking up for the machinist duo and they outgrew their home-based business. Local businesses that use New Vision Metal Works include, Superior Essex, Namaco, Rocky Mount Coil and Moore Craft.
"We're going to grow and grow and grow," Ronnie Butler said.