Hamilton company thriving after relocating to run-down Lindenwald warehouse

Darana Hybrid has reclaimed what was a crumbling Lindenwald warehouse to help in its installations of conveyors and other small-package-handling systems for such companies as Amazon, UPS and Walmart, and business has been brisk since its move to Hamilton.

The company, which spent $3.3 million creating its headquarters offices and upgrading the warehouse it purchased for $500,000, employs 40 in Hamilton, along with hundreds in other states. In coming weeks it may hire another 100 to assemble another conveyor system in Northern Kentucky.

“We look after all that e-commerce business, so things have been getting busier for us, to tell the truth,” said company CEO Darryl Cuttell. “This year should be a real good year.”

In the next couple weeks, Darana will learn how much of the contract it will win for an Amazon airhub conveyor system at the Cincinnati/Northern Kentucky International Airport.

“We’re going to end up with a piece of it, we just don’t know how big right now,” he said, before showing this media outlet around the improved approximately 170,000-square-foot former industrial facility at 903 Belle Ave.

“If we get the piece we’re waiting on, we’ll probably be putting people out there in June,” Cuttell said.

The company probably will bus employees from Hamilton to the Northern Kentucky job site.

Darana, a Native American-owned company, has 350-400 employees across North America in Canada, the United States and Mexico. It is an electrical and mechanical installations company that assembles the gigantic conveyor systems that are in especially heavy use during the coronavirus crisis, as more people are buying products from online companies, rather than visiting stores in person.

Within about six months, the company plans to begin some manufacturing operations in the building, adding another 1o people. In August, the company relocated to Hamilton from Memphis, where its facilities there are being used as a warehouse for two large jobs near there next year.

Meanwhile, another company soon will be moving in to the same building, from Toronto, Canada: PacLine Overhead Conveyors. Darana also is expanding into the area of moving heavy machinery, such as 60-ton presses used by car manufacturers, and also has created a new division in Smyrna, Tenn., Darana Manufacturing Systems, which manufactures parts. The company recently purchased Apollo Electric, which provides residential and commercial electrical contractor.

Hamilton Economic Development Director Jody Gunderson is impressed with what Darana Hybrid has done in Lindenwald.

“What’s really amazing is they’ve really taken a dilapidated building that was alongside the railroad tracks in the Lindenwald area and have just done a phenomenal job with the building,” Gunderson said.

With such projects as Darana, “You’re renewing different buildings within the city,” Gunderson said.

The company was founded in 1998 and moved to Hamilton in 2016. Until last fall, it occupied fifth-floor office space in Hamilton’s city-government tower at 345 High St. before moving into the high-tech offices the company created within the warehouse building.

People interested in applying for jobs can call the company’s main phone number, 513-860-4490.

Frank Downie, with Lindenwald’s neighborhood organization, PROTOCOL (People Reaching Out To Others; Celebrate Our Lindenwald), was pleased to hear about the quality of the work inside the company’s headquarters, and the fact the company may bus people from Hamilton to the new Amazon airhub.

“When that was SOS Steel, I don’t know how many people were employed — I couldn’t even guess — but it was a hub of activity over there then,” Downie said. “Just to see a vacant, deteriorating building coming back to life and being used for something like that I think is fantastic.”

Downie said he loves what Hamilton has been doing, increasing the numbers and varieties of restaurants, but the kinds of jobs Darana creates “I think can make a huge difference” for the city’s tax structure and also for employees to be able to sustain their families financially.

“To me, these are the kinds of jobs that a head of a household could take and maybe decently support a family,” he said.

Darana Hybrid Timeline

Some key dates for Darana Hybrid:

  • 1998 — company is founded.
  • 2016 — company moves to Hamilton.
  • 2018 — Darana buys 903 Belle Ave. warehouse.
  • August 2019 — Company relocates its headquarters from Memphis to Hamilton.
  • Fall 2019 — Darana moves from Hamilton’s city-government tower at 345 High St. to newly created, high-tech offices at the Belle Ave. warehouse.
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