New port business forces Bad Boy Buggies to look for new home

Published 4:23 pm Wednesday, March 21, 2007

A Natchez business is going to have to find another home soon because its lease is up and demand is growing.

Bad Boy Enterprises, or Bad Boy Buggies, as it’s known, has rented warehouse space from the Adams County Port for four years.

But the port has asked the four-wheel drive electric golf cart manufacturers to find another location soon, General Manager and part owner Jim Willard said Tuesday.

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Port officials could not be reached for comment Tuesday.

“Our lease has expired, and they’re not renewing our lease,” Willard said. “I think it has to do with the sale of the Riverside building.”

The former Riverside warehouse was recently purchased by U.S. Sustainable Energy Corp., a group that says it will start producing biofuel from soybeans.

Because of that sale, Willard said he thinks the port might need the building his business currently occupies for storage space.

“The port has gotten a lot busier over the last two or three years,” Willard said. “It’s a double-edged sword. We feel kind of left out in the cold, but as a taxpayer, I’m glad.”

But Bad Boy Buggies, which employs roughly 50 people, is having trouble finding a new home.

The company has progressed from making 350 units a year in 2004 to roughly 3,000 this year, company accountant Ken Beesley said. In 2005, they had to move from a smaller warehouse into the bigger one they have now, he said.

The advantage to doing business at the port facility is that trucks coming and going don’t disturb much traffic.

“We’ve looked at buildings, and there’s really not anything (that meets our needs),” Willard said. “You don’t really have any warehouse space in Natchez.”

The business would need a minimum of 40,000 square feet, and ideally 60,000, he said. Right now, they only have 30,000 square feet in which to work.

“We’re cramped right now,” Willard said. “The port still has some stuff stored in here.”

And with the busy season coming up, a potential move might cost them more money, he said. Finding a place for more buggies in the making in the middle of a move would be challenging at best, he said.

“What’s going to be bad is, we’re busy now, but our really busy season is July through the end of the year,” Willard said. “I’m scared it’s going to put us in a situation where it’s almost impossible to move.

“It’s going to be a problem, but we’ll just have to deal with it.”

Willard said he would like to keep the company in Adams County, but that’s going to be tough if they can’t find or build a warehouse soon.

“We’re all from Natchez,” Willard said. “I don’t want to have to move across the river — I hate to move out of state. We all know we need the jobs here.”