What started out as an open house felt more like a celebratory event as more than 600 people officially welcomed Art's Way Manufacturing to West Union, Iowa, on Thursday, according to an article in the Fayette County Union, an Iowa newspaper.

Local residents and business owners intermingled with Art's Way board members and employees throughout the afternoon, sharing good wishes and receiving information about the manufacturer, the newspaper said.

During the ceremonies J. Ward McConnell Jr., executive chairman of the board of Art's Way, reiterated the company's satisfaction in finding such a spacious building. Pointing out the line of implements on display, he repeated the intentions of the manufacturer to formulate the new West Union assembly lines in the near future. “We hope to rise to the heights residents and officials expect from us," he said.

“Today's welcoming of Art's Way into the community was made possible through a collaborative effort of too many groups and organizations to entirely name," said First National Bank President John Grimes.

Looking across the interior of the 190,000-square-foot former Atwood building, Art's Way board member David Castle smiled while earlier commenting, "This is a wonderful facility that offers a lot of flexibility for us."

In addition, plant manager David Bush said the machinery located on the building floor was among the items currently planned for assembly in West Union, including forage boxes, forage blowers, forage high dumps, hay mergers and hay rakes.

Art’s Way, which closed on the building acquisition last April, has said the $1.3 million warehouse and factory expansion was made possible with a grant and loan of $65,000 from Iowa Economic Development Board to help offset expenses associated with building repairs and machinery and equipment. Arts Way is also eligible to receive $158,000 for job training.

The development is expected to create 45 jobs in the area. The facility will be a combination of production of Art’s Way ag lines and a warehouse for finished products. McConnell said the facility will provide valuable production space and will accommodate any future acquisition.