Too often, pundits say that American manufacturing is in decline. Or they claim that “Made in USA” options simply aren’t available for consumers and businesses. But the construction of a large, new factory in Ashland, Alabama helps to demonstrate that American-made products are indeed plentiful—if you take the time to find them.
On August 26, Alabama-based Wellborn Cabinet will officially open 175,000 square feet of new operation facilities in its hometown of Ashland. The company manufactures a wide range of American-made kitchen and bathroom cabinets, and was recently named one of “America’s most trusted brands.”
With business booming, the company decided to invest $15 million in new facilities throughout its Ashland production campus. Much of that investment focused on a new planer mill needed to increase the company’s production of kiln-dried lumber. The mill, which turns prepared lumber into finished wood, will be one of the largest in the nation.
Because Wellborn is particularly focused on the health and safety of its employees and neighbors, the company chose to make upgrades throughout its production campus that were specifically focused on worker comfort. That includes a new daycare building and human resources office as well as an expanded on-site medical station staffed by a full-time nursing staff and doctor. Overall, the company is planning to add 200 employees for its planer mill, manufacturing operations, and a new painting facility.
As part of the company’s vision of supporting American manufacturing, founder and president Paul Wellborn decided to build the new planer mill with as many American-made components as possible. That included everything from the factory’s metal structure to the equipment needed to manufacture high-value cabinetry.
As Wellborn explains, “We believe in the American worker and their ability to further the U.S. economy. If we don’t support American workers, we all fail. It made complete sense for us to invest entirely in American-made equipment. We wanted to support other domestic manufacturers throughout the United States.”
Wellborn says that the search for the right equipment took time—but was well worth the effort. By sourcing components from domestic U.S. companies—and making their own concrete on-site—the Wellborn team knew they would be getting some of the highest quality, most reliable machinery and materials in the industry.
To make their American-made vision a reality, however, Wellborn said his team needed to take the time to carefully search through a wide variety of options.
For example, the roof panels for the new mill came from Butler Manufacturing (Alabama). Foust Metalworks (Tennessee) provided the metal for the building. The overhead high-bay LED lighting came from LUX Brand Lighting through Alabama dealer Mayer Electric. Mereen-Johnson (Minnesota) supplied the gang rip saws, while the wood planers came from Newman Whitney (North Carolina). Wellborn also sourced its lumber material handling systems from Kincaid Systems (North Carolina) and its optimizing chop saw systems from Ultimizers (Oregon).
“We were excited to find these companies, particularly the lighting equipment. All of these companies are American-made, and that was an important goal for us,” Wellborn said.
The search for American-made components even included the supplies and decorations that will be used in the company’s August 26 groundbreaking ceremony for the new facilities. Wellborn says, “We made sure to find American-made flags, ribbons, and bunting. And even the giant scissors that will be used in our ribbon-cutting ceremony were made in the United States.”
Wellborn Cabinet, Inc. is the largest family and privately owned cabinet manufacturer in America. For more information on their products and processes, visit www.wellborn.com.