Rex Performance Products will be adding up to 15 new jobs to complement a $3 million expansion.
The Marysville manufacturing company recently began leasing a 150,000-square-foot warehouse in the Port Huron Industrial Park that will allow it to expand operations.
The company purchased new equipment for its 110,000-square-foot factory at 2700 Wills St., Marysville, and will use the Port Huron location, 2100 Dove St., to support those increased operations.
“We tripled our sales in the past 36 months and this expansion will more than double our sales again within the next 18 months,” said Don Tate, Rex Performance Products president.
The company manufactures industrial packaging products — basically the type of foam packaging consumers would find when they open up the box of a new television or computer. It will now be able to produce and distribute more of those products and to produce additional types of packaging.
Rex Performance has been in operation in Marysville for four years after taking over Fagerdala USA, which produced similar products.
Dan Casey, Economic Development Alliance of St. Clair County director, said the Port Huron building was the largest available in the county. He said its occupancy will lower the vacancy rate in the Port Huron Industrial Park and further highlights the need for new construction.
Casey said the Port Huron building is the former Collins and Aikman building, which was an automotive supplier that was located in the building in 2005, with as many as 400 employees working there at one time.
“We’re excited by the company’s growth and expansion," Casey said in an email. "EDA helped its predecessor, Fagerdala, construct the building in Marysville. Over the years, there’s been ups and downs in their industry, but the company has adapted and made strategic investments that have enabled it to win new business.”
Rex Performance products are shipped across North America from Canada to California and from Massachusetts to Florida.
Tate said in the next 18 months he hopes to expand the Marysville facility by 100,000 square feet in order to have all aspects of the operation under one roof.
But until then, he said sales were growing so quickly, the company needed an already-existing building it could move into right away – and the Port Huron building was move-in ready.
“Some modifications needed to be done to the office area of the Port Huron building but those will be done by the end of April,” he said.
The total project – adding in new equipment and opening the warehouse site – is 85 percent complete. The new equipment will be running by the end of April.
While the company has not applied for any tax credits so far, Tate said it’s possible that the company will be applying for tax abatements in the future.
Of the projected addition 15 technical jobs, four have been hired so far. Interested applicants can drop off resumes at the Marysville location.
Currently the company employs 65 workers.
“These are technical jobs – it’s a chemical and mechanical process – we have no CNC machine or robots, it’s kind of like making a cake, how we make the foam,” Tate said. “We are looking for people who can think on their feet.”
And the company’s expansion won’t stop there.
Tate said Rex Performance's strategic plan includes opening a third facility in the southern part of the United States within the next 24 months. It has been working with economic development corporations in the areas of Tennessee, Texas, Arkansas, and Mississippi.
“Michigan allows us to support the northern states and eastern states, but when it comes to shipping product to Florida and Texas and Mexico, those southern areas become a bigger challenge in terms of cost of shipping and freight,” he said.
Source : thetimesherald.com