Masland plans include Atmore

Published 9:34 pm Wednesday, August 18, 2004

By By Michele Gerlach
Masland Carpets' recent rapid growth, coupled with current business conditions, have the company looking at expansion plans that could mean new jobs in Atmore.
Masland president Ken Dempsey said the company is developing a five-year plan for expansion needs.
"Based on our history in Atmore and the success we've had working with city, county and state agencies there, we are considering expanding there," Dempsey said. "If we are able to work out the details so that it fits with The Dixie Group's corporate objectives, we believe that will happen."
The Dixie Group is Masland Carpets' parent company.
The company currently employs 471 people in Atmore, up from 422 in September, 2003. Traditionally, carpets for Masland's corporate and high-end residential lines have been manufactured locally. In the past year, manufacturing of much of the company's Dixie Home residential line has been moved to Atmore.
Masland's carpet sales have grown from $48 million in 1992 to a projected $165 million this year. The company has averaged 11 percent growth per year and is on track to grow sales 16 percent this year. Sales of the Dixie Home line are projected to reach $40 million this year, for total carpet sales of $205 million, according to figures provided by the Masland.
"Masland's growth is important to the local economy," Atmore Mayor Howard Shell said. "Forty-nine new jobs is like getting a new industry in town. This company knows they have loyal employees with a strong work-ethic here. We are very pleased they are continuing to grow here and we're going to do everything possible to make sure their expansion plans are for Atmore."
Dempsey said the five-year plan calls for a three-phase expansion that will allow the company to get its products out of temporary, satellite storage facilities and add additional equipment. He estimates the expansion could require as many as 150 additional employees over the next five years.
Dempsey and other Masland officials recently presented Masland's five-year plan and infrastructure needs for the expansion to a group in Atmore that included representatives of state, county and city agencies involved in industrial development, Alabama Power, the City Utilities Board and Mayor Shell.
The City of Atmore already has received an industrial access grant that will be used to build a new road from the industrial park in which Masland is located to Jack Springs Road. The new road will allow quicker access to I-65 for companies located in the industrial park, and allow Masland to close Carpet Drive, the road leading to the plant from Swift Mill Road, to facilitate its expansion.
The company also will need additional electricity and water. Utilities Board Chairman Jim Johnson said his board already is working with engineers to ensure that the city's water and sewerage systems can handle the additional demands.
Masland began manufacturing carpet in Atmore in a 280,000 square-feet facility in 1968. At present, its Atmore facility is 609,000 square feet. Masland manufactures carpet for a number of well-known commercial customers, including Target, The Olive Garden, Red Lobster, Applebee's, and Nordstrom.

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