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      Fulton family company expands, adds jobs

      At a time when the economic news in mid-Missouri has been marked by cutbacks, a Fulton manufacturing company is celebrating an expansion.

      Danuser Machine Company is bucking the recent trend with a product that brings a smile and a wink, along with a job.

      Since 1911, four generations of Danusers have manufactured machines for agriculture and industry. Their signature item is the post-hole digger.

      "You would think that almost everyone who needed one would have one by now," said Janae Danuser, the company's vice president. "We've been making these things since the mid-1940's. And it astounds me that people, to this day, still need post-hole diggers."

      Right now, some 65 people build products for Danuser. Over the winter, the company will build an additional 32,000 square feet of manufacturing space, and prepare to employ another two dozen workers.

      "As much as people like the glamour of attracting a new business, the reality of economic development is that up to 90 percent of the new jobs that are created are created by your existing companies," said Bruck Hackmann from the Fulton Area Development Corporation.

      Unlike many expansions reported over the past few years, this one involves no state taxpayer subsidy. However, local taxpayers will allow Danuser not to pay part of its property tax debt over the next ten years.

      "The bottom line is job creation," said Hackmann. "We have to grow our companies, and if we do that, we grow our tax base and everyone's happy... and that's really the ultimate goal."