With last week’s news that doors and windows manufacturer Pella Corp. is opening a production site in Troy, observers might be tempted to ask: Is Troy the doors manufacturing capital of the Midwest?
After all, garage door maker Clopay has been at home in Troy since about 2006, when the Mason company bought a one-million-square-foot West Market Street facility for manufacturing.
But not so fast: Executives with both Pella and Clopay told the Dayton Daily News that’s it’s not about doors or windows -- it’s about workers who know how to make things.
“Troy has a rich history of manufacturing,” said Nicolle Picray, spokeswoman at Pella Corp., based in Pella, Iowa. “That’s why we really were interested in the area. It brings a skilled labor force, as well.”
With 1,200 Troy workers today, Clopay knows this.
“I wouldn’t say Troy is suitable for doors or doors and windows,” said Victor Weldon, Clopay chief operations officer. “There’s a strong group of manufacturing (companies) here, and I think it’s just manufacturing in general in this area. There’s a good workforce for that, with a really good work ethic.”
“You can look around the area,” Weldon added. “There’s a manufacturing heritage here.”
Pella will make vinyl doors and windows at 1501 Experiment Farm Road, where the company said (and Ohio government expects) 428 workers will be employed once the facility is fully operational by the year 2025. Previously, United Retail anchored a distribution center at the building before closing nearly a year ago.
Picray said Pella representatives spoke with Troy and Dayton-area manufacturers to get the lay of the land, to learn about the city, the workforce and more.
“We spent quite a while identifying the right site,” she said. “Troy, Ohio actually won out over 80 other possible locations across the country that we had considered.”
The number of jobs to be ramped up at the new Pella plant depends on business and demand, Picray said. “We have to have a significant portion of them to be able to run manufacturing.”
Both Pella and Clopay are united in another way: Both companies appear to be weathering the COVID-19 pandemic well.
“More and more people are spending time in their homes, and their homes have to be everything for them now, more than they ever have been before” Picray said. “And people are kind of turning inward, looking at home improvement projects that make their space more comfortable.”
Additionally, people aren’t spending on travel as much as they once did. That frees up funds for home improvements, she said.
Weldon said Clopay finds itself meeting rising demand for garage doors for hospitals, municipal customers, distribution centers and retail outlets.
The company serves residential customers, as well.
Clopay did have to furlough some employees at the end of April. But more recently, the Troy plant has brought on 35 new employees, and the facility could use about 115 more, Weldon said.
“We’re currently beyond our peak in terms of our high point in employment,” he said. “It’s pretty amazing right now how busy we are.”
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