Eldon Quaker plant to expand, doubling manufacturing space
During a visit to Eldon at the beginning of May, Governor Parson helped Quaker Windows leadership announce the site’s first building expansion. The groundwork for the expansion has already begun, with leveling efforts underway. Only a year into their operations at the lake, the announcement is a sign that the manufacturing power of Quaker is here to stay for the long run.
Quaker Windows Chief Marketing Officer Bill Sifflard says that the new building will sit right next to the existing plant and will add on another 250,000 square feet of commercial manufacturing capacity. A brand new set of manufacturing lines will be installed and the output by the site will hopefully double as a result.
Sifflard says that the demand for the company’s product has been increasing, leading to a demand for further manufacturing power. Though the operation saw a slight slowdown during the early months of the COVID pandemic, residential housing purchases skyrocketed towards the second half of the year and into 2021. At this point of the year, sales are up considerably compared to 2020.
With more space and equipment comes the opportunity for more jobs in Eldon as well. Sifflard says that the staff present at the Eldon Quaker site is currently over 150 total in less than a year’s time. Even so, they are still having trouble filling all available positions between the lake’s location and the founding Quaker plant in Freeburg.
Though the company offers a wage far above the average entry level job, Sifflard says that they have not been able to escape the hiring issues felt around the state. He doesn’t see this as a long term issue, as the state will expire its unemployment benefits soon and Sifflard is confident that the wages and benefits that Quaker provides will be a big draw for those looking to get back into the workforce.
“Our employees are part of our family. We do what we can to take care of our family,” Sifflard said.
With the increased space of the expansion, Sifflard says they will work with their research team to also develop new products that will be made in Eldon. He says that Eldon will be a key part of the company’s growth into more residential markets, as well as commercial.
Since moving to Eldon in 2020, Sifflard says the entire company has felt welcomed from the start. From community leaders such as Eldon Schools Superintendent Matt Davis, to town government leaders like Mayor Trevor Vernon, Sifflard says the entire Quaker leadership team have been able to work smoothly and get their operation running efficiently on all ends.
“We’ve heard from residents about how appreciative they are. The town really cares about helping Quaker move forward,” Sifflard said.
The expansion project is estimated to cost around $10 million. Every installed manufacturing line within the plant costs around $1 million each. The long term goal for the company is to continue expanding within Eldon and eventually add on processes such as producing their own glass within the plant to to continue growing their supply chain to greater levels.