PHIPPS BEND — Contour Industries in Hawkins County has weathered the recent economic downturn with sales growth each of the past three years and a new expansion that will begin this year and eventually add 50 to 100 new jobs.
Plant manager David Tomlinson told the Times-News Monday the company plans to build a new 57,680-square-foot facility for manufacturing glass products on its property at the Phipps Bend Industrial Park.
Between 90 percent and 95 percent of Contour Industries’ business is glass used in appliances, and Tomlinson said sales for 2009 are up 33 percent.
Tomlinson said he signed the contract two weeks ago for construction of the new facility, which should be completed in January and up and running around the middle of 2010.
The new facility is expected to require 50 new employees initially, but Tomlinson said that within a couple of years he hopes he’ll need to add around 50 more new employees.
That would double the company’s current payroll of 100 employees.
The new facility will include a larger continuous tempering furnace with edging, drilling, printing, tempering and bending capabilities.
Among the appliance glass products made at Contour are printed and tempered refrigerator shelves, oven doors, washer lids, dryer fronts and control panels for stoves.
Their products can be found in appliances produced by Whirlpool, General Electric, Electrolux, Sub-Zero and others.
With this expansion, Contour is also looking at breaking into new markets as well.
“The new markets we’re looking at are solar, architectural and hopefully some automotive markets,” Tomlinson said. “Not very many automotive markets. But what we’ve seen in the glass business, a lot of the automotive glass manufacturers have gone out of business because of the economy.
“That’s going to come back, and somebody’s going to have to be there when they come back.”
The Phipps Bend Joint Venture Committee and Hawkins County Industrial Board, which are in the process of constructing a separate speculative manufacturing building at Phipps Bend, have agreed to give Contour fill dirt from that spec building project to level the property where the new Contour facility will be built.
Tomlinson said site preparation on his project was set to begin last week but was postponed due to rain.
This is Contour’s second expansion in three years, having completed a $5 million project in 2006 that added a reported 50 new jobs. Contour was founded in Surgoinsville in 1985 and has been at its current Phipps Bend location since 1989.