Sourced from Dubois County Free Press
Jasper Group has expanded its operations with the purchase of a 1.2 million square foot manufacturing facility in Orleans.
In 1929 Jasper Group opened its doors as Jasper Seating Company, making school and office chairs at its new building in Jasper. Seven dry kilns and lumber tracks with a half million feet of lumber capacity furnished the entire plant and the operation, when running at capacity, employed about 125 people.
Over the years, as demand increased and the product offering diversified, the company evolved its brand platform, acquired additional manufacturing space and entered new markets.
Jasper Group is now the parent company of four brands making product in Dubois and Orange counties with over 1 million square feet of manufacturing space and more than 1000 employees. Today, a robust economy combined with the strong momentum and demand within each brand continues to push Jasper Group to find additional capacity and resources close to home.
This search led the company to purchase a 1.2 million square foot facility in Orleans, Indiana from the Orange County Economic Development Partnership (OCEDP).
When HNI announced in October 2016 that Paoli LLC would be closing in Orleans, the future of the building, and its employees had been uncertain. Currently, about 120 people still work at the plant as Paoli LLC employees; and community stakeholders, including the OCEDP, have worked diligently to find a solution for the building that could keep jobs in the county.
“I want to thank HNI; while they could not continue operations here in Orleans, they understood the need to have an employer here that employs citizens from Orange and surrounding counties. That is why they felt compelled to donate the building to the OCEDP,” said OCEDP Board Chair Alan Beck. “They knew that our board would be more than capable of finding a party to purchase the building and continue to offer employment.”
Jasper Group plans to retain the current production employees and possibly add more workers to the manufacturing floor when it begins operations in the first quarter of 2018. The company also plans to use part of the facility for warehousing and shipping for its multiple product lines.
Paoli LLC will likely wind down operations by the end of February, and during that time Jasper Group will begin bringing in raw materials and finalizing equipment purchases that can be used immediately in its new operation.
“It was fantastic working with the OCEDP to keep these jobs in the Orange County community,” stated Jasper Group’s President, CEO and Chairman of the Board, Mike Elliott. “Orange County is very important to us, both as fellow Hoosiers, and as home to many in our Jasper Group family, including two of our very own plants. This purchase was a perfect fit. We are looking forward to welcoming talented individuals of the furniture craft to our growing family. And the layout of this facility provides tremendous ability to streamline and expand our operations for future growth.”
Jasper Group will be working to finalize a detailed transition plan in the coming weeks, laying the groundwork to begin production there.
“Our formula is simple: high-quality product and great service at the right price point,” added Elliott. “The essential ingredients: dedicated people and the right resources. We love what we do, we love our people and we can’t wait to get started with this expansion in Orange County.”