That declaration, made by U.S. Representative Rick Boucher, came during a June 1 announcement that Vaughan-Bassett is undertaking in a four-phase, $1 million expansion project that includes a new, 16,000 square foot building and the relocation of two bed lines.
Boucher praised the hard work of Vaughan-Bassett’s workforce — which was gathered for the announcement — as well as the foresight displayed by its leadership.
“The excellence that Vaughan-Bassett is demonstrating arises from the company’s farsighted leadership and from the strategic vision the Bassetts have long demonstrated in managing this facility,” Boucher said. “The excellence of Vaughan-Bassett also arises from the quality of the workforce. Approximately 700 employees — largely centered here in Galax, but also to some extent in Elkin, N.C.”
Last year, Vaughan-Bassett was considering the purchase of a new, $3 million rough end system, which would increase the amount of lumber cut in the Galax factory and amp up production. Vaughan-Bassett Executive Vice President and COO Doug Bassett recalled a conversation with Boucher that made the purchase of the equipment make more sense.
“When we started out buying the rough end system, which made all these expansions possible, we went to Congressman Rick Boucher and explained what we were thinking about,” Bassett said. “He was able to get passed into law, an accelerated depreciation prevention, which gave us the incentive to buy that $3 million piece of equipment. That led to the 60 jobs in Galax; it led to us reopening the plant in Elkin (in September 2009) and it’s leading to the 16,000 square foot building we’re putting up."
The rough end system was installed in July, which created the need for more workers, a more efficient layout of equipment, and now a new facility.
“For the last couple of months, and on into this July, we’ve been re-laying out a portion of our factory here. In addition to adding more state-of-the-art equipment, we’ve relocated a lot of existing equipment to make more room and improve our efficiency. This is all to help us machine more parts,” said Vaughan-Bassett President and CEO Wyatt Bassett. “We’ve also relocated and expanded our two bed lines, which is going to help us assemble and manufacture more furniture every single day. All of this relocation has led to the need for expansion to our warehouse and shipping departments. This new, $1 million, 16,000 foot expansion will be completed by the end of this year.”
The expansion is four-tiered, with many steps already complete. Relocating the two bed lines from the machine room to the pack room, and relocating two administrative offices and a bathroom to open a forklift aisle to be able to move parts from the machine room to the pack room were completed in May. In July, machinery within the machine room will be organized to better take advantage of 8,000 square feet opened by moving the bed lines.
The final phase of the expansion — the 16,000 square foot building — should be completed in December. Ground was broken in May, and Clark Brothers Company of Stuart is the construction firm hired to complete the new building.
By the time the expansion is completed, the total investment since 2009 for equipment, improvements, employment and expansion will exceed $6 million.
The expansion is seemingly coming at an opportune time, as Wyatt Bassett announced to the assembled workforce that it set an all-time production record in May.
“In addition to saying thank you, we want to say keep it up,” he said. “We’re going to need that production. In the month of May, our orders were up 12 percent.”
Boucher noted facts such as that should make Vaughan-Bassett’s employees proud of the job they do.
“Vaughan-Bassett employees provide proof that American workers can compete with workers anywhere across this United States and anywhere in the entire world and win and excel,” Boucher said.