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Calexico still in running for possible Buck Knives plant

April 18, 2002|By AARON CLAVERIE

Staff Writer

A Buck Knives spokesman said Calexico still has a chance to convince the 100-year-old knife company to relocate from El Cajon to Calexico.

Spokesman Tom Ables said, "Most of the stories so far have been premature, talking about Buck Knives going to Idaho or Washington. No decision has been made."

Ables said the only thing decided so far is that C.J. Buck, president and CEO of Buck Knives, has put up his 4.5-acre factory site in El Cajon for sale. Ables said the facility is too big and expensive to operate now that Buck Knives utilizes a leaner manufacturing process.

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" … Meaning lean and mean," Ables said.

He added: "Their whole system has been streamlined. They don't need the huge plant they have now."

Calexico Mayor John Renison would like to see Buck hang his shingle on a smaller, more efficient plant — in Calexico.

"El Cajon is going to be real, real adamant in keeping them, but we can try to get their interest and go from there. I would certainly like to turn every stone I can," Renison said.

He said Calexico easily would be able to provide the 250 or so bodies the company would need, the water and "some kind of building." Renison said the city needs to be aggressive as it searches for ways to improve the local economy.

Ables said Buck Knives isn't "entertaining specific proposals" but he said the company is "exploring all kind of options."

"They might move down the block but they also might move to somewhere else in California, which could be Calexico," he said.

C.J. Buck is the great-great grandson of Buck Knives founder, Hoyt Buck.

Hoyt Buck started his knife-making business in Kansas at the turn of the century. After World War II, Hoyt and his boy, Al Buck, set up shop in San Diego's East County.

For more than 60 years the company has grown with the area, becoming one of the most well-known San Diego businesses.

>> Staff Writer Aaron Claverie can be reached at 337-3419 or claverie7@hotmail.com

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