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May 06, 2007

Chatfield growing biz =......?

The Chatfield business that is on the grow is Strongwell Corp. Of course, many of the blog readers figured that out already.

Here's a little from one of the stories that will be in print Monday:

A new sign outside of Chatfield may signal more growth for a company that is already booming.

Mike Jaszewski, plant manager for Strongwell Corp., made it himself and he see it as an example of how the longtime manufacturer is moving into new markets with new fiberglass-reinforced products.

“We’re not just industrial fences and handrail systems,” he says.

The Chatfield facility, which is part of a Bristol, Va.-based company, has long been known for making things like tool handles, walkways for oil rigs and industrial fences using a process called pultrusion.

Now it has added products like a decorative handrail system designed to be used at high-end hotels, restaurants and homes. Jaszewski used some of the equipment from that line to create the company’s new sign.

“It looks like wrought iron, but will never rust. The opportunities are tremendous,” he said.

It is also adding a product line to used in marinas and with docks after just fully moving into the bridge market last year with a structural deck system. It took about five years of development in the Chatfield division to create that line. Staff in the Chatfield plant along U.S. 52 engineer, manufacture and market products.

Overall business is up about 18 percent over last year and earnings are about 57 percent. The plant has added 20 employees to its more than 180 person staff since January. One unit switched on Sunday to a 24 hour, seven days a week production schedule from its former five day shift schedule.


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