Northwest: Central States Manufacturing Plans More Regional Plants

by George Waldon  on Monday, May. 23, 2011 12:00 am  

The revenue picture at Central States Manufacturing Inc. of Lowell has maintained a steady growth-mode trajectory since the company's founding in 1988. The only blips for the metal building components producer were in 2007 when revenue dropped nearly 7.7 percent and in 2009 when revenue dipped 1.4 percent.

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CSM returned to its record revenue ways in 2010 with sales topping $194 million and the addition of its fifth plant. The July opening of the facility in Mount Airy, N.C., broadened its regional network eastward.

"We want to continue to expand our geographic footprint and be a metal components supplier to all 48 states," said company President Donna Leger (pronounced la-zhay).

Towards that end, CSM is looking to the upper Midwest for its next likely area for expansion. But that new plant won't be happening in 2011, according to Leger.

"This year, we're focused on growing existing plants and maybe having a breather," she said. "Next year, we'll look at opening a new plant."

Current operations employ about 365 at facilities that include Lowell, Michigan City, Ind.; Cedar Hill, Texas; and Jasper, Ala.

The company's core manufacturing business fared well even in the face of a national economic downturn. Material sales improved annually during the past 21 years with one exception: a 2.6 percent decline in 2007.

The performance is especially impressive considering the company's pairing with the fortunes of the construction industry. The CSM staff is evaluating the addition of new product offerings this year, which could boost business.

"We're not at the decision point," Leger said. "We're evaluating different roofing products and looking at market potential for the various products. Our goal is to have a decision by July 1."

Adding to the revenue mix is Central Storage Works, a division launched in 2003 that engineers and sells complete building systems for mini-storage projects as well as boat and recreational vehicle storage.

In 2006, the company opened its Steel Source division to take advantage of its volume-buying power and resell steel coils to smaller roll-forming ventures.



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