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CALDWELL — A pump manufacturing company is pulling up stakes out of California and beginning construction on a 6-acre site in Caldwell.

Idaho Gov. Butch Otter, Caldwell residents and city officials came together Monday at the Sky Ranch Business Park to break ground on a new 46,000-square-foot manufacturing facility for Price Pump Manufacturing Co.

“We’re really looking forward to coming here,” Price Pump President and CEO Robert Piazza said. “Looking at the number of folks that turned out for this groundbreaking today, including the governor, we were very impressed with that.”

Price Pump, founded in 1932, is a centrifugal and air-operated diaphragm pump manufacturer whose pumps are used in MRI units in hospitals, cooling units for computer chip makers and wastewater systems, among other uses.

The business is relocating its facility in Sonoma, California, to Caldwell at 2203 Smeed Parkway, just south of Fresca Mexican Foods’ new location.

The facility is expected to open in March next year, however Piazza said the date is “a moving target.”

Price Pump has 33 employees, and 18 of them are moving to Idaho to stay with the company. The other positions, Piazza said, will be filled in Idaho. He said he has already hired three people from the Treasure Valley, including an engineer who graduated from Boise State, a chief financial officer from Boise and a recently retired Coast Guard member from Kuna.

California’s rising and “oppressively expensive” cost of living is Price Pump’s primary reason for relocating, Piazza said.

“We’re moving because we can’t attract talented employees to California from out of state — they can’t afford to live there,” he said. “We can’t afford to pay them what they need to live there or we would slowly go out of business.”

Otter told the Idaho Press that Price Pump will benefit Idaho by bringing diversity to the economy — one thing he said he has worked on since the recession.

According to Steve Fultz, Caldwell economic development director, Price Pump “meets all of the goals Caldwell is looking for in a business” — it has the opportunity to grow, pays employees livable wages and manufactures goods.

Fultz said that because Price Pump qualifies for the job creation grant, which awards $10,000 per qualified job, up to 20 jobs, a “considerable” amount of Price Pump employees will be paid $25 an hour or more plus benefits. Price Pump has yet to apply for the job creation grant, according to Rob Hopper, Urban Renewal Agency chairman.

“We are so grateful we can bring a business like this to Caldwell,” Mayor Garret Nancolas said.

Savannah Cardon is the Caldwell reporter for the Idaho Press. Follow her on Twitter, @savannahlcardon, or reach her at 208-465-8172.

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