BY GABE LICHT
DELANO, MN A longtime Delano-based industrial business will soon be expanding.
Industrial Louvers has announced plans for a $7.5 million, 40,000-square-foot addition to its facility at 511 Seventh St. S.
“The first phase of our expansion is putting in a new paint line,” Director of Sales and Marketing Lisa Britton said.
She explained that the company will be shifting from using a dip tank process to an enclosed spray system.
“We’re doing that, in part, because our company is extremely focused on sustainability,” Britton said. “We’re converting all our processes to significantly more environmentally-friendly processes. Our paint line has to change. We’ve teamed with Valspar to do that. Our new paint line will eliminate some of the chemicals we currently use in our facility that we don’t want to have anymore to be able to operate in this sustainable space.”
The paint line expansion will add more than 35,000 square feet onto the western portion of the building.
That expansion will contribute to the need for more office personnel.
“By being able to have this expansion, it allows us to have more people in-house,” Britton said.
For that reason, the company will add about 3,700 square feet of office space stretching north toward Highway 12.
That expansion is estimated at $2 million, and will accommodate future staff growth, including the addition of 11 employees in the next two years.
“The company expansion into the office is adding more people in the office and making it nicer,” Britton said.
A portion of the cost of that expansion will be covered by a $172,802 grant from the Minnesota Department of Employment and Economic Development Job Creation Fund.
Industrial Louvers’ goal is to have the expansion done by the end of 2017.
“We wish it were happening today,” Britton said. “It will be phased. We’ll be starting the factory portion first. We hope this starts in the spring, and the office will be the second piece. We don’t know yet how it will all fall into place, but we wish that it would happen all next year.”
Industrial Louvers employs about 70 people, with about half of those employees working in the factory, and the other half working in the office.
“Overall pay averages $21.15,” Britton said. “We don’t pay anyone less than $15 if they work for us for more than their probation period. We pay a living wage and have a policy that states we pay a living wage.”
Industrial Louvers, which was founded in Delano in 1971, manufactures architectural louvers, equipment screens, decorative grilles, sunshades, column covers, and other products for designers, contractors, and subcontractors throughout the United States.
The company is looking forward to expanding in Delano.
“We are very excited about our expansion project, and the support from the Delano community has been tremendous,” CEO and President Jo Reinhardt said. “Our company core values are about customer service, integrity, being good environmental stewards, and getting the job done. I believe those values are also reflected in how Delano serves its community and businesses. We are proud to be a part of that community.”