MANCHESTER, Iowa — A tool and equipment manufacturer has begun an expansion that will create about 40 new jobs in Manchester.

Donna Boss, executive director of Delaware County Economic Development, said crews will construct a 76,500 square-foot expansion onto the Stanley Black & Decker facility in Manchester, located at 621 Grant St. The project will more than triple the size of the existing facility, which spans about 30,000 square feet, according to Boss.

She noted that Stanley Black & Decker already is among the top five employers in the county and praised the company’s continued growth during an economic downturn.

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“They just have a great team and a great vision,” Boss said. “They have the right people on the bus to make things happen.”

Shannon Lapierre, vice president of communications and public relations for Stanley Black & Decker, said via email that the growth in Manchester is part of a broader effort to “consolidate some of our manufacturing for our Stanley Infrastructure business” to facilities in Delaware County.

“The change will allow us to achieve operational synergies and be globally competitive,” Lapierre wrote. “We are excited to be expanding in the region and look forward to continuing to actively participate in the community.”

Lapierre said this effort will result in the addition of “nearly 40 jobs,” adding that there are already about 250 existing Stanley Black & Decker jobs in Delaware County.

According to Boss, the Manchester facility employs around 25 people, while the majority of jobs are located in Delhi, Iowa.

Boss believes the new Manchester employees should be hired by the end of next year.

“Dirt has already been moved, so they are looking to have employees in there by 2021,” she said. “It might not be the first quarter (of 2021), but a year from now or in the last quarter of 2021 (the jobs will be added).”

Stanley Black & Decker has had a major presence in Delaware County since purchasing Paladin Attachments in 2019. Local Stanley Black & Decker employees produce skid-steer loaders, excavators, industrial tractors, and other equipment, according to Boss.

The company’s growth comes at a time when Delaware County has experienced both positive and negative economic news.

Exide Technologies, which employs more than 300 people in Manchester, recently filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy and submitted mass-layoff paperwork with the state. These actions were part of a restructuring plan that involves finding a buyer of its operations in North America.

However, company officials said last month that there are no imminent plans to close the Manchester facility and Boss confirmed Tuesday it is still “business as usual” at the location.

The unemployment rate in Delaware County was 7.1% in May, significantly higher than the 1.9% jobless rate in May 2019.

However, Delaware County’s unemployment rate was lower than both the statewide rate of 10% and the national rate of 13.3% in May. The county jobless rate in May was also lower than the month of April, when it sat at 8.6%.

“Right now we are seeing our (unemployment) numbers start to come down,” Boss said. “We have been fortunate.”

Stanley Black & Decker leases its Manchester location from Manchester Enterprises, an organization that supports local economic development projects. The organization filed site plans and an application to rezone the Grant Street property before the project began.

Tirzah Wedewer, of Manchester Enterprises, did not return a call placed by the Telegraph Herald Tuesday.