Fire Barriers continues to thrive

COLUMBIA CITY — A continuously thriving business in South Whitley got a monetary pat on the back from both the Whitley County Board of Commissioners and the Whitley County Council this week. At Tuesday’s meeting of the council, Alan Tió, president of the Whitley County Economic Development Corporation appeared before the panel to introduce Zach Kessie of Fire Barriers, a fire-stopping company based in South Whitley.The company’s appearance before the board was on behalf of a second low-interest loan utilizing CEDIT (County Economic Development Income Tax) funds.Tió told the board that Kessie’s company had met all criteria for the second loan including employee hiring requirements and that payments on the first $25,000 three percent loan had been paid in a timely manner.Kessie told the board he currently employs two salaried staff members (himself included) and is preparing to hire his fourth tradesman.Council president Kim Wheeler asked Tom Rethlake, chairman of the commissioners what he thought and Rethlake replied we think it’s a “hometown boy makes good.”The loans are on a five-year term.Kessie told the board business is going well.“We’re coming into 2011 with a nice backlog and we’re on schedule for repayment of the first half (of the loan),” Kessie said.With councilman William Overdeer absent, the panel voted unanimously 6-0 in favor of the request.