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Article Published: Saturday, August 21, 2004

Tim Ives, president of O'Hara Metal Products, is in the process of moving his company from Brisbane to Fairfield. (Reporter photos/Brad Zweerink)

Showing their metal

Manufacturing firm leases Fairfield site

By Barbara Smith/Business Writer

O'Hara Metal Products, a 40-year-old manufacturer of metal components, is pulling up its San Francisco-area roots for affordable Fairfield.

Vacaville resident Tim Ives, president of the manufacturing company, has leased about 16,000 square feet in manufacturing space at 5005 Fulton Drive in the Cordelia area.

The family owned company, most recently based in Brisbane, normally employs 52. The move will bring about 20 new jobs to Solano County. And, there's room for growth, Ives, 51, said.

He hopes to expand to two suites that are on both sides of the building, when available.

"We hope at that point, we'll be ready to take advantage of that," Ives said. "We have first right of refusal on those."

The move will mean a far shorter commute for Ives and his wife, Robin. The longtime Vacaville couple operated Pet Country, later named Planet Pets, on a hill atop East Monte Vista Avenue for years. But that changed shortly after Ives was called to the family business.

"When my dad died, I was the only son and I got elected to kind of come here and take over the store," he said.

They ran the pet store for a while, but gave it up when operating both businesses became too demanding.

"It just got to the point where it was too much," Ives said. "We were working seven days a week, so we decided to put it to sleep. Now we're working seven days a week, every week too, so who knows what's worse?"

Also, seven key employees live in Solano County - another reason to move back to Solano, he said.

"Other than not having this silly commute, we're comfortable in Fairfield," he said. "Over here, I know people, there are businesses we can network with, not to mention the rent is ridiculously cheaper than there."

The company is investing roughly $70,000 in tenant improvements.

O'Hara Metal Products makes metal parts for "everything," including space shuttles, the Apache helicopter, Nokia phones, Apple computers, and even Burger King.

"Every time you look and see a small metal component, that's what we do," Ives said. "Nothing really exciting, but important."

Ives said he hopes to be open by the second week of September.

"We're really pleased with Solano County, we're looking forward to being back," he said.

Chris Petrini, vice president of Grubb & Ellis, served as the Ives' broker in the lease. He said the sales and leasing cycle of commercial and industrial real estate is moving again.

"We're coming out of the summer doldrums," he said. "Local entrepreneurs are coming back from vacation and now are back focused on their business.

"I'm anticipating a bump like we did in February and March, when activity was brisk."

Barbara Smith can be reached at

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