PHENIX CITY, Ala. (WRBL) — Earlier this week WRBL reported that a California-based company plans to locate its manufacturing facility in East Alabama.
Sierra Pacific Windows is under the umbrella of Sierra Pacific Industries. And they are fill steam ahead in Phenix City.
And they are coming to Phenix City to set up Southeast operations based in the old Johnston Textiles mill on Colin Powell Parkway. And they are committed to hiring at least 300 employees.
Sierra Pacific is one of the nation’s largest lumber companies and owns about 2.5 million acres of timberland in California, Oregon, and Washington state.
The company’s president Tom Takach spoke with WRBL and we asked him how the company was going to approach the rehab on such a large building.
He was asked why the company selected Phenix City.
“That is a great, great question,” he said. “And, you know, we started a search about a year ago as we’ve grown our window business, the Southeast is the fastest-growing market that we have. Servicing it from California and Wisconsin gets a bit challenging. And we are getting to the point where our capacity, we needed more. And obviously, from a logistical perspective, you need more capacity. Let’s put it where the business is.”
That realization prompted a search that led to Phenix City.
“So, we started a search. It was a pretty broad net,” he said. “But, you know, we looked at quite a few facilities and then we looked at this facility in early January. And this was the place, again, if you draw a dartboard around what we call the southeast market, Phenix City is just about in the bullseye.”
Now there is a lot of work to do get the facility ready for production by June of next year.
“A lot of work, and we probably won’t get all 600,000,” he said of the square footage. “It’s a big elephant and we’re going to bite it a chunk at a time. The big focus is going to be on the main building here on this 400,000-square-foot building. Getting the infrastructure, you know, putting new break rooms and bathrooms and lighting and electric, all and all the utilities that we need, you know, getting all that geared up. So, that’s going to be the big focus.”
This plant will bring good-paying jobs to the Chattahoochee Valley. The starting pay will be just under $20 an hour with the pay increasing as a worker grows in the position.
Phenix City Mayor Eddie Lowe said earlier in the week that it will likely be more than the 300 jobs promised.
Takach explains why the mayor would say that.
“It should,” he said. “And I’ll put it in this perspective, Chuck. Our facilities in California and our facility in Wisconsin both have close to 500 folks at both of those operations. I’ll we’ll deem this successful here when we’re in that same ballpark.”
The company is in the process of hiring an HR manager and a couple of more positions right now. They hope to have the building renovation done and at least part of the plant operational by next June.