River City Plastics Inc. plans to move farther inland from its Jacksonville, Fla., location to a new plant in Sanderson, Fla.
The company is growing, and the new, rural, 44-acre site provides the room to do so, said Stafford McCartney, River City general manager.
``We're adding five new lines. We just needed to have the space to put them,'' he said.
River City, which extrudes PVC pipe for water, sewer and electrical conduit, is squeezed between two foreign-owned competitors. Pipe giants J-M Manufacturing Co. Inc. and North American Pipe Co. have plants in nearby Greencove, Fla., and Thomasville, Ga., respectively.
``If you don't grow, you get gobbled up by the Taiwanese,'' McCartney said.
Despite the competitive pressure, the company reported $52 million in sales for the year ended June 30, up from $45 million the previous year. River City's strength lies in making products its competitors don't, McCartney said.
``We manufacture a little bit of everything,'' he said. ``We kind of cover the board.''
McCartney said the company will move to the facility in August and have it up and running by December. The 130,000-square-foot, $5.6 million plant is 30 miles west of the firm's current location.
Several sites were on River City's menu, but the selection was made easier by a competitive utilities agreement, McCartney said.
``We found a site bounded by two major utilities, and we could negotiate with both of them,'' he said, adding that the winning company offered to provide a back-up generator system to help the company deal with power outages caused by Florida's frequent thunderstorms.
Another advantage of the Sanderson location is its proximity to Jacksonville, McCartney said.
``We could keep our key employees without problems,'' he said.
About 50 current part-time workers will switch to full-time positions after the move. When fully staffed, the new plant will employ 150.