R&D Finishing: shining in the old Bemberg Plant since 1996
BY BRITTNEE NAVE
R&D Finishing in Elizabethton has customers all over the country and the globe.
“My market is all over the United States and Europe,” said the owner, Rick Smith. “We do work from every state in this union, Canada, Sweden, Australia. And no one knows we’re down here.”
The family-owned business of Smith and his wife, Debbie, has operated since 1996 in the old Bemberg Plant building.
The business works in refinishing metal parts and providing chrome plating services, along with nickel and gold. Their specialization is in pot metal restoration with more than 45 years of experience. They also polish stainless steel and aluminum metals.
Among some of the work done has been on antique car parts. Smith said the oldest he has worked on is a car from 1903.
For the past eight years, the business has also been part of the OSHA Compliance Program.
“Every two years OSHA sends people in here and they leave us a list of stuff to fix and we fix it,” he said.
They are also compliant with the EPA.
Smith noted the perceptions of the public on the old Bemberg Plant.
“People don’t even know we’re down here and they think this old building is run down, but we’re running a 100 percent OSHA complaint, EPA compliant business.”
“Everyone thinks the old Bemberg building is abandoned and it’s not. We have a half a million-dollar payroll here,” Smith said.
Additionally, Smith said that while the building gets creepy in the night, there are no ghosts he has seen, despite public beliefs to the contrary.
At one time the business employed as many as 33 people and could again. Smith explained that he is not opposed to hiring those with convictions as long as they are willing to work and not continue past actions.
“We treat people like they treat us,” he said. “It’s how you act here, but if you’ve done something wrong in the past its none of my business.”
While Smith hopes to pass the business on to his twin sons, Jesse and Cody, and daughter-in-law, Randa Pinnex, who is also a local attorney, he said this business is here to stay in Elizabethton.
“We have no plans on going anywhere, we plan on staying here for a hundred years,” he said.
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