January 21, 2014
Transferring production from overseas to the United States continues at Mullican Flooring, which recently moved an additional line of engineered flooring from Asia to its Johnson City facility.
Mullican moved to a larger factory in late 2012, a transition that included $14 million in investment and has so far added more than 100 jobs at the Johnson City, Tennessee based hardwood flooring maker. When that move occurred, Mullican began producing three engineered lines that are three-eighths of an inch thick, and recently, the company announced it has begun producing its half-inch “RidgeCrest” engineered product in Johnson City.
“We needed to get the experience under our belt of being an engineered manufacturer, and we did that for about a year with three-eighths before we started the half-inch production,” Mullican President Neil Poland said, adding that the local employees have adapted “real well” to the additional production. Prior to the move to the larger factory, the Johnson City facility produced only solid hardwood flooring, and in fact Mullican’s engineered collections never were produced stateside until early 2013.
“We started out in the engineered segment as an importer,” Poland said.
A variety of factors have made it cost-effective and attractive marketing-wise to be able to put the “Made in America” seal on Mullican’s engineered product, Poland said in an interview last year, and 2013 didn’t disappoint from a sales perspective.
“We had a great year in 2013,” Poland said. “Sales were ahead more than 20 percent versus 2012. We’re optimistic for 2014 as we have continued strength in the housing market.”
Poland said while Mullican may be able to shift personnel internally to handle the additional volume, “It could possibly create some more jobs.”
Regardless, Poland said, the addition of yet another product line in Johnson City is a positive for the company as well as the city. Mullican’s work force has roughly doubled, to around 240, since its move to the 340,000 square foot former Superior Industries plant on Woodlyn Road.
Mullican ranks among the nation’s top five hardwood flooring producers and operates additional manufacturing facilities in Norton, VA, Holland New York, and Ronceverte, West Virginia. The company is a charter member of the National Wood Flooring Association’s Responsible Procurement Program and has achieved multiple certifications to demonstrate its support of proper forest management. All of Mullican’s domestic products are allowed to carry the “verified sustainable,” seal of approval of the Appalachian Hardwood Manufacturer’s Inc.