Fiberglass Flagpoles of America, a subsidiary of French company Deschamps SA, is coming to America to offer a fiberglass flagpole.
In early June, the company opened a 20,000-square-foot facility in Mebane, according to Hugues Lefebvre, president of Fiberglass Flagpoles of America.
``We found an advantage to manufacturing in the United States and if you can make a high-quality product in the U.S. that is another advantage,'' Lefebvre said by telephone June 7.
He noted that the exchange rate between the euro and the U.S. dollar favors coming stateside. Also, the cost of transportation is much cheaper, especially when you are trying to ship a flagpole that may be 40 feet long.
Lefebvre said the company had hired a head of manufacturing and two workers. The firm plans to make 600 poles by the end of the year and 2,000 next year. The company plans to add 30-40 employees within five years, as it ramps up to produce about 10,000 poles a year.
He said FFA's flagpoles are made using a unique method whereby the poles are heated to accelerate the curing process and provide a stronger pole with a longer-lasting finish.
Lefebvre said that fiberglass is the preferred material for use in Europe, and he is hoping it will replace many aluminum and steel poles that are used in the United States. The poles do not corrode and are lightweight, making them easier to install.
He said that the company considered manufacturing in the United States 20 years ago, but the right factors were not in place. FFA does have warehouse space in Minnesota and Boston.