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Plastic lumber maker Poly-Wood adding space, showroom

By: Catherine Kavanaugh

August 21, 2013

Poly-Wood Inc. needs more room and people to turn milk jugs and detergent bottles into stylish outdoor furniture at its facility in Syracuse, Ind.

The company recently began construction of a 42,260-square foot addition to manufacture its plastic lumber and to display its products in a glass atrium showroom.

The new construction will join two existing buildings, which have about 200,000 square feet of manufacturing space, into one facility that will also house corporate offices, production and a design center.

In early 2014, the company expects to hire about 35 more people to make products ranging from traditional Adirondack chairs — Poly-Wood's flagship item — to its collections of modern furnishings for the yards of homes and cottages.

With the trend to use yards as outdoor living spaces, residential buyers are looking beyond picnic tables, chaise lounges, and seats by a fire pit to furnish them, said Doug Hertel, vice president of marketing.

"It's more than a chair or two around a campfire setting," Hertel said. "We offer full dining options in three heights — dining, bar and counter heights. You can enhance your entire outdoor living experience with the diverse product line we have."

Nowadays plastic coffee tables also are circled by plastic sofas, settees and ottomans with cushions for entertaining outdoors.

Hertel said residential sales are growing with the commercial side of the business, which supplies restaurants, resorts and cruise ships with outdoor furniture for their sidewalk cafes, pools and decks.

"We're experiencing overall corporate growth," Hertel said.

The expansion is expected to be completed this fall and new hires could start soon afterward.

"As we start developing different areas of new manufacturing in the new build we'll need to staff it," Hertel said.

Through its extrusion process, Poly-Wood turns high density polyethylene, UV-inhibited pigment systems, foaming compounds and select additives into a rigid board stock material that won't rot, splinter or crack or never needs painting or staining.

Poly-Wood has been in the outdoor furniture business since 1990.