08/08/13 Pictures on Facebook of former Plymouth businessman Dave Ferguson showing the ground-breaking ceremonies of a proposed new business ,Custom Touch Village, in Snyder, TX came as a surprise to both former employees and investors.
A business he had headed up in Plymouth closed overnight in 2012 leaving many in the community wondering if the whole operation had been nothing but a hoax.
Ferguson, listed as CEO of Stone Creek Homes, had opened up production in Plymouth in August, 2011 with only 9 employees. By the time the facility shut down on or near Memorial Day weekend, 2012, there were some 45 employees. Locally, employees were told that the plant was short on parts and had no money in the account to pay anyone. They were additionally told that it was an indefinite layoff and that they should gather their personal belongings and leave the property.
A plant in Central City, NE that was jointly managed by partners Ferguson and Al Donahue closed at the same time.
Under the name Stone Creek Homes, located in the then vacant Shamrock Homes on Markley Dr., Ferguson was building “man-camps” to be sent to oil and gas fields for housing. The units were 76 feet long and featured kitchens, bathrooms, sleeping accommodations, and a shared washer and dryer.
The Stone Creek Homes logo is still being used on literature for the new ventures.
Without warning, Ferguson closed the Plymouth facility without speaking to employees. Office staff came to work on May 24, 2012 to find Ferguson’s office cleaned out. All of his personal belongings in a house he rented on Pretty Lake had been taken out as well. The number on his cell phone had been disconnected, web-sites were wiped out, and emails were left unanswered.
Ferguson, originally from Plymouth, had constantly spoken openly of how valued his employees were to the organization and to him. During an employee Christmas party in December of 2011, Ferguson said, “We love and care for them just like our family. These are the employees who really generate our business.” “We have no chance but to be successful.” He said, “It isn’t about capital, technology, or financial assets and certainly not the management. It’s the folks on the ground. That is why we are here.” But those words sounded empty when the plant closed without a word from Ferguson only a few months later.
Equally as shocked on the sudden steps to close down were local investors as well as out of state investors. Reportedly, one investor was able to at least control units that had been funded by them. 1st Source Bank that was holding a note on the business held a public auction on remaining units left at the plant to recoup at least a portion of their monies.
Information distributed to local media in June, 2012 shows that a North Dakota businessman, Todd Moore, had wired $230,000 to Stone Creek Homes as a deposit for several units only weeks before the sudden closing of the Plymouth plant.
No information concerning a possible bankruptcy has come to light.
According to Kosciusko County Economic Development Director George Robertson, Stone Creek was in line for a state incentive package that would have meant a reimbursement for in-state job creation. Robertson learned of the closing by phone from local Plymouth media. Reacting to the closing, Robertson said, “I have not been contacted by anyone from Stone Creek.”
The Facebook pictures of Ferguson surrounded by Snyder community members were posted on the Snyder Chamber of Commerce website at the proposed site for Custom Touch Village. However, the new business has not joined the Chamber. According to information included in an article in Big Country News dated March 20, 2013, “the project is a joint venture of South-Dakota-based Custom Touch Homes, Larson Ventures and Turn Key Solutions.” Donohue is listed as vice-president and chief financial officer of Turn Key Solutions.
Carol Anders Correspondent