FARMINGTON — The Board of Selectmen unanimously approved a resolution Tuesday to assist with applying and administering a grant to bring a manufacturing business to downtown Farmington.

Peter Roberts, owner of Origin BJJ, LLC, is manufacturing jiujitsu and combat sports apparel in Industry.  The company has outgrown the space and is looking to move to the former Skane LTD building at 125 High St.

Roberts is looking for the town’s help in securing a $500,000 Community Development Block Grant under the Economic Development Program. Bank loans and credit will increase the funds by $600,000, Roberts said.

During a public hearing Tuesday, Roberts said he wants to “move into a real space and bring vibrancy to that part of town.”

The site at High and Church streets provides space for expansion of the manufacturing and retail business. The site was chosen for its size, closeness to town and better commuting distance for employees, according to written information provided to the board.

The company is the only manufacturer of jiujitsu and combat sports apparel in North America, he said.  

It is a niche industry grossing approximately $100 million a year in global sales, according to the written information.

The company takes a raw cotton from the South and creates a textile for martial art clothing, Roberts said.

The money is needed to purchase specialized machinery and equipment and for job training and working capital.

CDBG Economic Development Program funding carries a job creation expectation, creation of full-time employment for low to moderate income persons. Roberts said he expects to create 18 jobs within the first 12 months and perhaps more in the future, he said.

The jobs include sewers and shippers. There is the potential for a future retail outlet, Roberts said.

He filed a letter of intent to apply for the grant in April and has been accepted for the application phase. The application will go out Friday.

“This is really what we want and need. It is what the Economic Development Program wants,” Code Enforcement Officer Steve Kaiser said.

Skane LTD distributed ski wear but the building is mostly empty now, Roberts said. He is purchasing the building and hopes to move in June or July, he said. 

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Peter Roberts, owner of Origin BJJ, LLC, in Industry is moving the business into the former Skane LTD building at 125 High St. on downtown Farmington.

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