Production of Insulfoam and Hunter Panels products is picking up at a new factory in Puyallup.
The facility, home to both Carlisle Construction Materials companies, is about 90 percent operational and should be at 100 percent by the end of September, plant manager Chris Brown said.
The company purchased its 42-acre lot from Randle's Sand & Gravel in 2011, and it completed construction of its 400,000-square-foot building at the end of last year.
Its Hunter line, new to the Northwest, began manufacturing in January, and it started moving its Insulfoam business to the plant the following month.
Insulfoam brought all of its Tacoma-based office employees and about 95 percent of its employees from the manufacturing factory in Kent to the new space. The company also hired about 40 new employees to support operation of Hunter Panels and the joint business.
With business growing, Brown said he expects to increase his staff from about 135 to 175 in the next few years.
“We're cautiously optimistic,” Brown said. “We see a fairly consistent improvement over last year month-over-month. Everyone that we work with is busy on the construction side of things.”
Brown said the Northwest has fared the best out of all Carlisle Construction Materials' regions of operation.
“Seattle was slow to go into the recession and little faster to come out,” he explained. “Sales volumes reverted back to 2001 levels, which is about half of what the peak offered,” Brown said. “We had to reduce shifts. We were a three-shift operation at the peak of the cycle. We had reduced down to two shifts.”
Brown said one reason the company performed as well as it did during the recession was because it wasn't completely tied to the residential real estate market. Now, though, the pickup in housing development is fueling Insulfoam's growth.
“That particular business is growing a little more quickly,” Brown said. “We had some of our best months just recently.”