Business

Local manufacturer DarCole Products, Inc. moving into growth mode

Local manufacturer DarCole Products, Inc. moving into growth mode

Bill Stephens, Web Editor

March 24th, 2017

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SEBREE, Kentucky – A Henderson-based producer of specialty concrete additives used to improve concrete will be moving into the Sebree Spec Building to provide it the space it needs to double its workforce and expand into new product lines over the next few years.

DarCole Products Inc. has purchased the 42,500-square-foot building along U.S. 41 in the South Sebree Industrial Park, which will give it more than six times more space than at its small existing facility.

“We’re definitely busting at the seams,” DarCole Vice President Ryan Risley said. “We’ve grown as much as we can at our current location.”

“We’ve been in the hunt for a new location for awhile,” company CFO Darin Frields declared. “This new location will allow more potential and growth.”

Once the Sebree shell building is finished out, it will provide the company with the ability to bring in more raw materials to expand its product line, Frields said. The larger plant will also allow DarCole to streamline its production processes and upgrade equipment.

And it will provide the staff with a sizable laboratory for conducting its in-house research and development.

DarCole, which employs eight people today, hopes to hire a few people once it has moved into its new plant and double in size “within two years or less,” Frields said.

“We prefer to keep long-term employees,” he said. “There’s a lot of training and a learning curve. When we hire somebody, we always have the full intention of them being long term.” As evidence of that, the company recently incorporated a retirement plan into its employee benefits package.

The company historically has concentrated on the niche market of providing a full line of concrete additives used by customers to work with mobile or “volumetric” concrete mixers that produce concrete at a job site as opposed to hauling in concrete from a stationary ready-mix plant. Mobile mixers are especially useful for small pours to reduce wasted material, but can also be sued for larger jobs in conjunction with multiple units. They can be used in remote locations as well as in hot locations where ready-mix concrete could harden in a truck before it can be delivered and placed. DarCole’s additives changes the qualities of concrete to meet specific needs.

DarCole will continue serving its mobile-mix customers, which stretch from the Florida Keys to New Hampshire to Alberta, Canada. “We want to stay true to our original business,” Risley said.

But it intends to expand into new markets as well, such as providing additives for the much larger ready-mix market. And it plans to create its own line of pre-cast concrete products such as parking bumpers, retaining wall blocks and landscaping blocks.

“We’ll build our offices first” at the Sebree building, Risley said. “We’ll continue production in our existing plant until we get a stockpile at the new location so there will be no lapses in delivery.”

One thing that won’t change is DarCole’s innovation, which has been the hallmark of the company since President Billy Frields founded the company in 1983. Since then, the company has developed more than 30 specialty concrete additives, of which 16 are part of its product line today. Two more additives are currently in development with plans already in the works to begin R&D on others as well.

Some of its innovations are groundbreaking, including one that dramatically reduces the weight of concrete. “We developed the first stand-alone floating concrete,” something that could be used in the construction of concrete boat docks without requiring Styrofoam or other flotation aides, Billy Frields said. That same concrete formulation also remains cool to the touch even on the hottest sunny day, which could revolutionize swimming pool decks.

“Webster County is excited to welcome Darcole to the Sebree South Industrial Park,” Webster County Judge/Executive Steve Henry said. “When we, as a community, can talk about new jobs and new opportunities for our residents, it’s an awesome day. Darcole is an established company with real growth potential and we are confident that success will continue.

“We appreciate the judge, Steve Henry, because of how helpful he was throughout this entire process,” Darin Frields said.

DarCole purchased the Sebree Spec Building from the Webster County Economic Development Authority, which developed the South Sebree Industrial Park, which is located less than 10 minutes from Interstate 69.

“The Webster County Economic Development Authority is extremely excited about moving a new business into Webster County and the South Sebree Industrial Park, authority Chairman Steve Whitsell said. “We wish them well and hope they will grow to large numbers in their employment.”

DarCole’s purchase of the Sebree Spec Building was helped by Kyndle, which is the regional economic development organization for Henderson, McLean, Union and Webster counties as well as the chamber of commerce for Henderson and Henderson County.

“It’s always a great day when we can help a homegrown industry such as DarCole pursue its dreams,” Kyndle President and CEO Tony Iriti said. “It’s been an honor to help a local company that already reaches customers across a large portion of North America.”

“We know that 80 percent of new industrial jobs will come from expansions at existing companies,” Donna Crooks, Kyndle’s vice president of economic development, said.
“This is proof of that.”

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