MI Windows idling Salisbury plant
By Shelley Smith
Production at MI Windows and Doors plant on Heilig Road will stop by Dec. 31, a company official said Friday afternoon.
The company issued a press release earlier Friday announcing plans to idle the Salisbury window fabrication plant, which employed 110 employees.
Company spokeswoman Amber Martin said, “For now, operations out of that facility have planned to cease by Dec. 31. It’s just a matter of resourcing our allocations better in the northeast.”
Martin said the company hasn’t determined whether it will later reopen the plant. And she did not know of any other plants idling their production. Martin also did not know how the employees were notified of the change, or if they had any warning.
The plant, near Heilig Road’s intersection with Old Concord Road, was quiet Friday afternoon. Few cars were in the parking lot. In the front office, the secretary was absent, and the lights turned off in the office. Golden shovels used for the facility’s 2004 groundbreaking were on display, along with softball trophies for years of Concord Parks and Recreation tournaments. Applications for employment were on a table, however a sign stating that no openings were available was posted.
Eric Rothermel, MI Windows and Doors’ northeast human resources director, was at the plant and said it will shut down by Dec. 31. He said the move comes amid a weakening construction industry.
“We’ve been wary for three years about production,” he said.
In the press release, Stan Sullivan, president of the Eastern Division of MI Windows and Doors, said the decision “to idle the Salisbury facility has been extremely difficult.”
He said, “Anytime we affect team members and their families by eliminating jobs it comes with much anxiety. The decision is not a reflection of how our team in Salisbury has performed but rather a strategic reallocation of our manufacturing resources.
“The team is dedicated to providing quality products and seamless service for our Salisbury based customers from our MI Windows and Doors fabrication plants located in Pennsylvania.”
The company built its 150,000 square-foot plant in 2004, on the 57 acres of land purchased from Rowan County. The land is part of the third phase of Summit Corporate Center, and was sold at $12,500 an acre, well below the 2004 market price of $18,000 an acre.
The plant replaced a smaller MI plant in Concord, with most of the workers from Concord transferring to the Salisbury plant. The new and larger plant officially opened in April of 2005.
During the groundbreaking, company president Mike Jackson praised local officials for allowing the new plant to come to Rowan County.
“The timing couldn’t be better; our company is busting at the seams,” Jackson said at the 2004 groundbreaking.
Former executive director for the Salisbury-Rowan Economic Development Commission, Rady Harrell, said at the groundbreaking that the potential for growth was “phenomenal.”
According to Martin, the company now has five plants in operation, which are all domestic. In 2004, the company had 14 plant locations, with sales in excess of $700 million.
“To my knowledge there is no other downsizing,” said Martin. “The only difference for customers is they’re going to see a different truck showing up.”
A call to plant manager Lynn Harner was not returned.
The Rowan Employment Security Commission could not comment on the layoff Friday, as its director, Debbie Davis, is out of town until Nov. 5. The Director for the Cabbarus County ESC, Carolyn Mays, said she had not been notified of the layoff.
“With more than 100 workers (being laid off ), I should have been notified,” Mays said.
Marketed and distributed nationwide, MI Windows and Doors fabricates products for new construction and replacement applications in the residential and light commercial market segments.
MI Windows and Doors Inc. is a wholly owned subsidiary of JT Walker Industries Inc. For more information about MI or its products, visit www.miwd.com.