Hiring has started for Jenkins Millwork LLC in Wilkesboro, a new subsidiary of Paducah, Ky.-based Millwork Products LLC (MWP).
Operations of Jenkins Millwork began Monday in the 48,000-square-foot former Carolina Glove Co. plant on Ridge Street, which the company leases.
MWP President Bob Allen said he expected Jenkins Millwork to employ over 50 people at the Wilkesboro facility in 45 to 60 days. Allen said most of its workforce would be former employees of Jeld-Wen in North Wilkesboro, which employed about 55 people in it millwork operation when it closed in March.
“The business models of Jenkins Millwork LLC and Millwork Products LLC will be very similar,” Allen said. “We are a medium-size, privately owned company seeking to partner with other like-minded operators to supply customers in the markets we serve.”
MWP and Jenkins Millwork both assemble and wholesale distribute exterior door units, windows, stair parts and molding. Door units are “pre-hung” at the MWP and Jenkins facilities, which includes adding hardware.
Allen said Jenkins Millwork is distributing products to lumberyards in the Carolinas, Tennessee and Virginia. From its location in Paducah, Ky., MWP serves over 370 lumberyards in western Kentucky, southeastern Missouri, southern Illinois, southwestern Indiana and northwestern Tennessee.
Allen said he has known many of the former Jeld-Wen employees for much of his 38 ½-year career in the millwork business, including when he worked in sales for a large millwork company in the Asheville area from 1974 to 1984.
After Allen was promoted to manager of the company’s Paducah, Ky., branch in 1984, he increased sales threefold in six years.
Since Allen and others bought what is now Millwork Products from Jeld-Win in 2002, MWP’s employment and sales growth have more than doubled and he has become known for his one-on-one contact with purchasing managers.
“We had been looking to expand for several years,” he said, explaining that availability of the top-quality and knowledgeable workforce formerly employed by Jeld-Wen created an opportunity to do so.
Ernie Hoyle and Larry Williams, who were manager and assistant manager at Jeld-Wen in North Wilkesboro, have been hired for these same positions at Jenkins Millwork.
“I have the utmost respect for the quality of the North Carolina workforce, and I’m looking forward to the potential for growth that the comeback of the housing market offers,” Allen said.
Allen said Wilkes EDC President Jeff Garstka and others in Wilkes were very helpful during the three months of discussion and information gathering preceding the decision to open here. “Everyone there (in Wilkes) has been great,” he added.
Garstka said Wilkes EDC board members are discussing but haven’t reached a formal decision on allocating money to help the company with unexpected costs related to the move from a fund that consists of private donations. He said incentive funds from local government aren’t being sought because this process would involve releasing information that the company doesn’t want made public.
He added, “We are pleased to welcome Jenkins Millwork LLC to Wilkesboro and Wilkes County. This announcement is good news for our local economy as we continue to work toward creating jobs and investment in the County. The EDC looks forward to being a long-term partner with Jenkins Millwork LLC as it grows here locally. I want thank Millwork Products for their investment here with Jenkins Millwork and wish them great success.”