Shuttered seven years ago by the housing downturn, a Rhea County manufacturer is set to reopen in April, providing local jobs as it meets the growing demand for building materials.
Huber Engineered Woods will again employ 150 people in its Spring City plant northeast of Chattanooga, matching the company’s peak employment levels during its previous 14-year run. The manufacturer had closed in 2011, but today, the regional economy, including the local labor force and local forestry industry, stand to benefit from the reopening. The company heralds a bright future, fueled by significant demand for its subflooring and sheathing products.
The Spring City plant’s resurrection brings especially good news to the Rhea County region, which recently faced the combined loss of about 2,000 jobs with the closure of Goodman Manufacturing and Fujifilm Hunt Chemicals U.S.A., says Bryan Little, Huber plant manager.
“Huber Engineered Woods’ Spring City announcement was a welcome employment opportunity for Rhea County’s labor force,” he says. “For the company, the growth of demand for AdvanTech subflooring and ZIP System sheathing and tape is the real driver behind Spring City’s reopening. The demand for high-quality, high- performance building materials has seen continued incline in a healthy construction economy.”
The Spring City plant will primarily manufacture the two products Little mentioned. The company engineers high-value products from wood sometimes viewed as low-value. This gives local landowners the option to sell a wider variety of wood species from their properties and results in a healthier, more balanced timber harvest.
Little says AdvanTech is an and tape in 2006 as a way to eliminate housewrap, which is typically used in construction to protect a home from the elements. The sheathing and seam-sealing tape provide weather protection and reduce air leakage in wood-framed construction projects.
“Builders appreciate the speed and ease that ZIP System products provide, and they are confident in the longevity of AdvanTech subflooring,” Little says. “The reopening of our Spring City Mill gives us one more reason for a positive outlook on the future of our business.”