Last September Stern Pinball announced they would be vacating the building which has been their home since the company was formed in 1999, and before that as Sega Pinball and Data East Pinball.
The Janice Avenue facility in Melrose Park, Illinois should be vacated by the middle of April as the company completes its move to a new larger building around 10 miles away in Elk Grove Village.
Work has been taking place over the last few months to refurbish the new building, and we can now bring you pictures from inside.
Pinball News asked Stern Pinball why they are moving and how the new building compares to their previous home. They told us, "We've just grown out of the [present] space. The new building is 110,000 square feet or about three times larger than our current facility. Currently we utilize off-site storage of approximately 15,000 square feet, so when you include that we'll roughly double our space."
They are not moving too far though. While Melrose Park is around five miles due south of Chicago's O'Hare Airport, Elk Grove Village is just a couple of miles northwest of the airport. Stern explained why they stayed in the O'Hare area. "We wanted to disrupt the business as little as possible and keep our workforce intact. So we scouted for buildings nearby."
And what did they select? Here's a look at the new factory floor.
According to Stern, the new factory "will improve our efficiency. The configuration of the building will allow us to improve our workflow, add lines, and consolidate our operations. We'll start moving in March... we expect to have everything moved by mid-April."
Will they be taking all the old equipment, or use the relocation to refresh it? "We'll be doing a little of both", they told us.
But anyone hoping to pick up a souvenir of pinball manufacturing in Melrose Park will have to wait. When we asked if Stern would consider selling off or raising money for charity by selling any equipment or memorabilia from the old building, they said, "Perhaps. We need to get a little farther along before making that determination."
© Pinball News 2015