by Heather B. Hayes
Pulaski County continues to bounce back from the economic blows it took in the recession.
In March 2010, the county had an unemployment rate of 12.7 percent. By November, that number had declined to 7.8 percent, roughly one percentage point above the state average.
The latest good news was a December announcement that Dove Vinyl Windows, a 65-year-old, family-owned business based in Wilkes-Barre, Pa., will invest $2 million to open a manufacturing operation in the Pulaski County Corporate Center.
The company, which sells about 200,000 custom-ordered windows a year to the new home and replacement windows markets, plans to hire 100 employees from the local area and have production under way by early August. The new jobs will include plant associates, mechanics and administrative personnel, with pay starting in the $11 to $13 an hour range.
Dove Vinyl Windows was the second major manufacturing operation to choose Pulaski County last year. Phoenix Packaging, a subsidiary of a Latin American conglomerate, announced last May that it will locate its first U.S. manufacturing operation in the county. The company said it would invest $20 million and hire 225 local employees to produce plastic packaging and disposable foodservice products.
In addition, Volvo Trucks North America said in August that it would hire back 270 former employees, increasing employment at its Dublin plant by 23 percent. The move marked the first increase in the plant’s work force since 2009 when the company laid off 441 employees and shifted one of two truck lines to another factory.
For Dove Vinyl Windows, Pulaski County offered the right combination of location, facility and work force. The company was looking at a variety of sites within a 600-mile radius of Pennsylvania, including West Virginia, North Carolina and Tennessee.
The company had decided to add a second production facility so it could better meet the needs of a growing base of customers in the South. Bruce Dove Jr., the company’s general manager, says that efforts to build and ship more products out of Pennsylvania had become too difficult.
The company will lease a 75,000-square-foot facility from Pulaski County. Dove says the industrial site, which has room for growth, initially will enable the company to produce 150,000 units, or nearly double its current production output.
“Our market demands that we deliver a custom-made product within a week to 10 days, so we needed to move closer,” he says. “This expansion initially is about better serving those clients, but obviously it’s also going to allow us to open up even more territory for us and get more market share.”
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