Connor Mill-Built Homes buys Good Point HQ

MIDDLEBURY — Investors representing Connor Mill-Built Homes (CMBH) have purchased the Good Point Recycling headquarters at 227 Pond Lane for $1.84 million, a deal that’s expected to strengthen both of those growing enterprises based in Middlebury’s industrial park.

The deal became official on June 19, according to property transfer records on file at the Middlebury town clerk’s office. It’s a transaction that according to company principals will give CMBH more financial stability and room in which to eventually grow, while giving Good Point a major infusion of capital to expand its workforce and weather any future downturns in the recycling industry.

“We’re very excited about it,” CMBH Chief Executive Officer Skip Wyer said of the purchase“It’s part of a long-term effort to reduce the costs of building the homes that we make and controlling our real estate and the costs associated with that … so we have a bit more control of our destiny.”

Good Point founder and CEO Robin Ingenthron put 227 Pond Lane on the market in 2014. Two years ago he welcomed CMBH as a tenant with the understanding CMBH could ultimately acquire and occupy the entire 50,000-square-foot facility.

Connor Mill-Built Homes includes several principals of the former “Connor Homes,” which in 2017 closed its doors at 1741 Route 7 south, due to financial reasons. Like its predecessor, the resurgent CMBH specializes in the design and manufacture of colonial reproduction “kit” homes.

Good Point is one of the region’s leading e-waste recyclers, processing discarded electronics supplied by clients in Vermont, Massachusetts, Connecticut, New Hampshire, New York and Rhode Island. Good Point runs e-waste recycling facilities in Middlebury and Brockton, Mass.

In a true role-reversal, Good Point will now be CMBH’s tenant. Ingenthron hopes to partner with local businessman Tony Neri on construction of a new Good Point headquarters at a different location in the Middlebury industrial park.

“We already have plans for new construction of a new facility that would involve a land-lease, but we haven’t decided what space that land would be on,” Ingenthron said.

Good Point’s Middlebury relocation would free up another 23,000 square feet at 227 Pond Lane into which CMBH could expand.

“We could conceivably get into a position where we could take over the space that Robin is in within a two-to-three-year timeframe,” Wyer said. “Hopefully, two years from now we’ll have enough growth in business to give us the need for that space.”

With the sale of 227 Pond Lane, Ingenthron has new capital to cushion Good Point from potential future downturns in the recycling market. Securing Vermont’s e-waste contract used to be critical for Good Point, but it has been diversifying its portfolio of agreements with other states, municipalities and businesses that provide the recyclables it mines for resalable material.

Ingenthron and his colleagues have also developed an expertise in what he calls “the future of recycling”: flat-screen TVs. Indeed, Good Point has become a national, go-to repository for flat-screen TV parts, which its employees mine from thousands of discarded plasma, LCD and LED televisions — many of them supplied by hotels. Good Point sells the useful flat-screen parts primarily to television repair people.

“We realized no one else in the (recycling) industry was dealing with them,” Ingenthron said of the flat-screens. “What we said was, ‘If we can get really strong in one thing, then even if we lose our Vermont contracts, all the other recyclers will send us their flat-screen TVs.”

Good Point has made Middlebury the hub for its flat-screen TV work, hard drive wiping and laptop and computer refurbishing. Ingenthron has transferred 10 jobs and most of Good Point’s other recycling operations — including work on old-style cathode ray tube TVs, printers and computers — to its Brockton location.

“In fact, our flat TV refurbishing operations have grown so quickly that we didn’t have to lay off a single one of our Middlebury positions — and had one of our highest payroll months in our history in June,” Ingenthron said. “We’ve got a lot of companies lined up trying to slip us their flats.”

Good Point now employs around 35 full- and part-time workers in Middlebury and another 10 in Brockton.

Ingenthron wants to significantly increase that number during the coming months in large part due to the flat-screen TV work. The sale of 227 Pond Lane gives him more financial flexibility to boost his workforce.

“We could be at 80 positions by this time next year,” he said.

Meanwhile, CMBH has a workforce of 22 that’s likely to expand, according to Wyer, who joined the company in February. CMBH will soon advertise two new positions, one of them in the design side of the business.

“Once someone is interested in one of our homes, we do our very best to customize and modify our plans to meet the specific needs of the client,” Wyer said. “We have a little bit of a bottleneck right now, because we have more plans that need to be modified than we do designers.”

Reporter John Flowers is at johnf@addisonindependent.com.

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