By Laura Leite Telescope News
By his own admission Brian Stephens says it has been a long time getting to this point.
“We’ve been working on this for a long time, as we always wanted to expand,” he said. “But due to delays in site work and materials delays for construction, we are just now getting to the point where we’re going to see things happen.” The people of Belleville and Republic County are now starting to see things happen too.
Stephens Glass, currently located in the old Belleville Ice Plant facility at 1513 15th Street will be opening a new nearly 9,000 square foot facility on Highway 36, just west of the Republic County Historical Society. Workers began pouring concrete just prior to Christmas. The expansion will more than double their current business footprint.
The company that specializes in collision repair and glass replacement, has outgrown their current location.
“We have been wanting to expand for several years because we need the space,” Stephens said. “We want to hire more techs and add to our office space, but we didn’t have room for either.
A native of Republic County, Stephens moved back to the area in 2005, working for Melton Motor Co. He opened his own business at the current location in 2007. Since that time, he says business has been good and getting better.
“The expansion is possible because of the support from the people of Republic County,” Stephens wife, Lacey said. “We have been very well supported and we have a good customer base; we are very appreciative.”
The new facility should be open in mid-2022 if all goes well, Stephens said. Additions to the business will include a new paint booth with bake capability.
“Eventually, we hope that our location will have room for us to offer covered storage for vehicles,” Stephens said. “The area where we’re building on 36 highway will give us room to expand if needed.” The new location will also provide higher visibility and a facility that can accommodate higher profile vehicles such as semitrucks, trailers, and farm implements.
Along with the expansion, the Stepens’ plan on creating more jobs. Currently five people work at the present location. Adding new technicians and office staff is on the list.
“We plan to recruit from the local technical colleges,” Lacey said. “It would be nice to bring young people into the area or bring back those who have left.”
The expansion of Stephens Collision and Glass is another one of the boons being seen in Republic County.
“I think what they’re doing is going to be great for Belleville and the surrounding area,” Belleville Chamber & Main Street director Waylon Sheetz said. “If you look at the expansion we’ve seen on 36 in just the last few years, that area of Belleville has gotten very busy with commerce.” Stephens and his wife both said they are looking forward to the “what’s next” chapter of their professional life.
“I don’t know that there ever is the perfect time to take the leap and expand,” Brian said. “But so far, things have gone very well, and we’re positive that this is going to be a good move for us and Belleville.”