OLD FORT, N.C. – A $195,462 state grant will allow Ethan Allen to expand its manufacturing operation in Old Fort, North Carolina, and hire 16 new people.

The grant comes from the North Carolina Rural Infrastructure Authority (RIA), whose Building Reuse Program provides grants to local governments/companies to renovate and/or expand local buildings.

Plant Manager Larry Papula told McDowell News that the grant money will be used to make upgrades to the plant’s boiler system and to build a new control room.

“The project involves an upgrade to our boiler controls, boiler wiring and piping, electrical distribution panels, and a new control room,” said Papula. “The project will replace older controls and equipment allowing for a safer operating environment for the boiler operator, greatly improve the reliability of the boiler, and provide for a more controlled and efficient boiler operation.”

The boiler utilizes the plant’s wood waste to produce steam. The steam is used for heat for both the plant and finishing ovens, and dries lumber to required specifications.

The 16 new jobs will include positions for boiler operator, maintenance mechanic, assembly clamp operator, case fitter, sprayer, CNC machine center operator, lead person, edge sander, drawer cell technician and packaging and preparation positions.

Ethan Allen sells a full range of furniture products and decorative accessories through ethanallen.com and a network of approximately 300 design centers in the United States and abroad.

Ethan Allen owns and operates nine manufacturing facilities, including six manufacturing plants and one sawmill in the United States plus, one plant, each in Mexico and Honduras. Approximately 75 percent of its products are made in its North American plants.

Ethan Allen ranked 25th on the FDMC 300 list of companies. The company’s manufacturing segment had $491.5 million in sales in 2016. See http://www.woodworkingnetwork.com/fdmc-300