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RSI Plans Million Expansion in Lincoln

A Lincoln County manufacturer is planning a $10 million 200,000 square foot production plant that will expand its presence in the county to nearly 1 million square feet and boost employment to at least 730. And officials at RSI Home Products say further growth lies ahead for the company in the Lincolnton area. The new building’s size may be doubled to 400,000 square feet within five years, they say. “We’re having a good couple of years,” says Alex Calabrese, president and chief operation officer of RSI Holding Corp., a subsidiary of an Anaheim, California manufacturer. Lincoln Count fits well with the company’s expansion needs, he says. “It’s a great place to do business. It’s set up perfectly for manufacturing, with a good supply of employees, and it’s a good place geographically for distribution.” The new plant, which will produce parts for bath and kitchen cabinets, will be built in Lincoln County Industrial Park, next to RSI’s 420,000 square foot distribution center. The new operation will have 50 employees initially. They will earn at least $9 per hour, Calabrese and local development officials say. The plant’s employment will likely grow, though Calabrese declines to disclose details. The plant’s workers will add to a local RSI labor force comprised of 320 employees at the company’s distribution center and an additional 360 at a manufacturing plant in Lincolnton. The latter, a 325,000 square foot operation on Generals Boulevard, produces bathroom countertops, sinks and cabinets. The parts manufactured at the new plant will be assembled into cabinets and packaged at the distribution center for shipment to home improvement stores along the East Coast. Sales to such stores have been the key to RSI’s local growth, Calabrese says, adding that company contracts with Lowe’s Cos. Inc. and The Home Depot Inc. have prompted the latest expansion. RSI’s presence in Lincoln County has grown steadily –  and quickly. The company started production at its Lincolnton plant in 1998 and built the distribution center in late 2000. Lincoln County commissioners recently approved $155,000 in incentives to assist the company with the new plant. The payments, which will be allotted over the next five years, would rebate 75% of RSI’s local property taxes. Park developer The Keith Corp. of Charlotte will build the latest building and lease it to RSI, just as it has the company’s distribution center. Construction will start in early September, says Alan Lewis, Keith director of corporate leasing. The facility is scheduled for completion in March. “We’re fortunate to have a business here that is growing in this economy,” Lewis says. Barry Matherly, executive director of Lincoln Economic Development Association, says RSI’s expansion shows the strength of the county’s efforts to promote growth at its existing industries. “If a company knows they’re going to get treated better the longer they stay, the more they will invest. Existing business is our No. 1 priority.” Lincoln County Industrial Park – on Finger Mill Road, off U.S. Highway 321 – is home to three other companies: Cataler North America, American Tire Distributors Inc. and Robb & Stucky Ltd. Their operations occupy a combined 650,000 square feet.