Industrias Vassallo Inc. will kick up production Aug. 19 at its first mainland rotomolding plant.
The diversified manufacturer, based in Coto Laurel, Puerto Rico, has converted its distribution center in Lake Wales, Fla., as it sets its sights on the kayak market.
The $1 million investment translates into one rotomolding machine and 15 employees, officials said in an Aug. 12 interview at the National Hardware Show in Chicago. The firm also will use the 200,000-square-foot plant to mold water tanks and other consumer products including flowerpots.
President Rafael Vassallo Collazo said his firm is targeting the kayak market in the Caribbean basin and the southeastern United States. According to the Outdoor Industry Association, kayaking is one of the fastest-growing outdoor sports. The Salt Lake City-based association has seen 105 percent growth in kayak participation during the past four years.
Vassallo started its plastic business with PVC pipe and fittings. It has owned the distribution location since 1970, he said.
``Basically, what we're promoting is a system of septic tanks, water pipe, sewer pipe and fittings, the whole `Vassallo underground,' for an entire underground system line,'' Vassallo said.
The expansion marks the second venture for Vassallo this year. In November the firm announced its move into wood composites. The firm's goal is to reach $120 million in sales during the next three years.
``With regard to that [wood composite] business, we are still in the process of evaluation and analysis of the final product,'' he said. ``We brought [the technology] in from Holland into Puerto Rico and Kentucky to find out about the product acceptance first, and to enable us to analyze the longevity.''
The firm reported rotomolding sales of $3.9 million for its fiscal year ended June 30, with 26 rotomolding employees and three machines. Officials project more than $60 million in sales this year, up from $46 million last year.