Rotational molder Toter Inc. recently completed an expansion at its Fresno County site in Sanger, Calif., the company's second expansion there since 1994. "Each time, we added machinery and equipment or expanded processes," said Jerry Lambert, senior vice president of manufacturing, in a telephone interview from Toter headquarters in Statesville, N.C.
The company has hiked its molding capability in Sanger by 40 percent since 1994, he said. Toter also extrudes its own compounding materials.
The Sanger plant occupies 110,000 square feet and employs about 170. That includes 35 workers added when the latest expansion of 19,000 square feet was completed in July. Toter and Sanger shared property-development costs for a road and utilities.
Toter had 1999 sales of about $54 million. Rollout residential refuse carts accounted for about 70 percent of the total. The firm has been diversifying into other products. Toter added commercial products such as tilt and utility trucks in 1996 and a retail line in 1997.
The company is establishing a decorating line in Sanger and transferring technology to produce Planterra-brand planters for Inviroworks Inc. of Apopka, Fla. The planters are made in Statesville now.
Toter first located in Sanger in 1987, and initially operated five fixed-turret rotomolding machines, each with three arms.
"Fresno County and Sanger offered us an opportunity to establish a manufacturing plant, find labor and economically freight our product into the Los Angeles basin and up and down the West Coast," Lambert said.
Labor availability is a key factor, and workers tend to stay with the firm, he said.