Mullican Flooring is growing its workforce and adding another production line for solid prefinished hardwood flooring at its Johnson City, Tennessee headquarters and manufacturing site. The expansion represents a $6 million investment and will position the company for industry growth in 2010.
“Four years ago we refocused the plant to the remodeling market. We now have more sales through remodeling retailers and have added employees and another prefinished wood flooring production line in Johnson City to keep up with demand,” said Mullican Vice President of Marketing Brian Greenwell.
Mullican officials kicked off the company’s 25th anniversary and added 25 new jobs in the first quarter. An additional 50 jobs will be created over the next two years. In total, the local facility’s labor force is expected to grow more than 50 percent by 2012.
The new production line was operational by March and bolstered the Johnson City site’s manufacturing capacity of solid prefinished flooring by 50 percent. Mullican has other production sites in Norton, VA; Holland, NY, and Ronceverte, W.VA.
The new production line enables the company’s Johnson City plant to produce enough solid prefinished flooring in less than two days to cover the infield at NASCAR’s Bristol Motor Speedway—the “World’s Fastest Half-Mile.”
”This not only represents growth in our workforce and production, but it also shows we are providing a stable work environment for our 135 employees in Johnson City,” says Mullican President Neil Poland. “The past year was extremely difficult for our nation’s economy, especially the building industry, so it’s rewarding to bring some positive news to our region and our industry.”
While the wood flooring industry was down by 30 percent during the recession of the last two years, Mullican sales were off 6 percent. The expansion project, needed to keep up with expected demand, is being partially funded through a Tennessee Valley Authority (TVA) loan.
“We are glad to assist Mullican Flooring with its expansion and wish to extend our congratulations,” says John Bradley, TVA’s senior vice president of economic development. “TVA and other local service providers, such as the Johnson City Power Board, are glad to partner with area businesses so they stay and thrive in our community.”
Mullican experienced rapid growth in the early years of the 21st century with new company President Neil Poland at the helm, guiding Mullican to unprecedented sales volumes and to a leading industry position as the nation’s largest producer of unfinished solid 3/4” hardwood flooring.
“Brian Greenwell has been responsible for much of our success with his many years of experience in the hardwood business before he came to Mullican 10 years ago,” said Poland. “He changed our direction in marketing and helped us get into the prefinished wood market.”
Aware that the market was changing and that consumers were demanding easier-to-install floors, Mullican shifted its mindset in 2003 and invested in prefinished technology at the Tennessee plant, where the company continues to manufacture most of its solid prefinished flooring. Diversification also gained momentum during this period, with Mullican introducing many new products, including engineered and hand-sculpted selections in 2004. In 2006 Mullican focused efforts at the remodeling market.
HGTV Urban Oasis is a television program that will appear this fall about a home that is a remodel of a New York City loft. Mullican flooring is being used exclusively in this project. Look for it..
Also, one of the company’s strategies was to focus on developing prefinished “green” flooring for the remodeling market.
“Our research indicated several years ago that there would be an increased demand for hardwood products that would bring sustainability to our forests,” Greenwell says. “Although hardwood floors are a naturally ‘green’ product, we took things a step further by developing several new products that meet the strictest standards being mandated in the building industry.”
Mullican gained industry attention in 2009 by introducing its “Green Haven” line, prefinished floors that are certified 100 percent-PURE by the Forest Stewardship Council (FSC). The FSC is an international organization that promotes environmentally appropriate management of the world’s forests.