Bavarian Polymers Inc. CEO Robert Weishaeupl credits the company's new vinyl windows systems and its strategic location near Nashville, Tenn., as a couple of the reasons behind a recent capacity expansion.
Three extrusion lines were added to the 65,000-square-foot factory in Dickson, Tenn., bringing the total to 10 lines with an overall extrusion capacity of 22 million pounds. The workforce also increased by five employees to 60.
Founded in 2005, Bavarian Polymers manufactures and sells only PVC-compound window and door systems. For the most part, the company extrudes to customer specification for large window fabricators but it also has its own product line, which it broadened with three single-hung, double-hung and horizontal sliding window systems.
“It's our 8000 series. They have higher ratings when it comes to air infiltration, water infiltration and structural strength to resist higher wind loads for our southern and eastern markets,” Weishaeupl said. “For us, the demand is coming from new construction in the south, especially the southeast.”
With its production plant 30 miles from Nashville, Bavarian Polymers is positioned well to serve the growing markets, he added.
“You're within eight hours of 150 million people,” Weishaeupl said. “We believe transportation and freight cost will play a more important role in the future and the sourcing of materials is going to depend on where the supplier is. A lot of our competitors are still very central with one location, like Pittsburgh, and it's hard to cover the country that way.”
As it approaches its 10th anniversary, Bavarian Polymers also has staying power in a down market on its side, and that has Weishaeuple confident about the company's future.
“After we opened, you know what happened with construction,” he said. “Most people thought they're never going to make it. My optimism comes from starting the company in the worst possible time. Everything dropped and hit rock bottom and we made a decent living. For us, you gain reputation staying in the market, going through tough times and still being around. We're doing better than ever now.”
One of the company's strategies has been to serve only the window and door industry. No fence or deck products were ever added. Weishauepl likens those building materials to commodities with low margins that often are manufactured using cheap scrap in the substrate and running some cap stock over it.
“We stick to our guns with window and door extrusion,” he said. “Our raw material is PVC compound — PVC with additives — and it is 100 percent sourced in the United States so our profile systems are truly 100 percent made in the USA.”
Weishauepl declined to share any dollar figures about the company's investment to increase capacity or its annual sales figures but he does expect to see continued growth.
“We started with three lines and now we're up to 10. We just keep going,” he said. “We're not leveraged at all. Everything we do is out of the cash flow. It's a conservative approach to growing the company.”