CLARKSVILLE, TX

- Veneer Solutions, a manufacturer of edgebanding and veneers, says its sales have grown 22 percent this year, a product of a restructured manufacturing platform and the improved economy, according to Pete O'Brien, president.

Veneer Solutions began business in Benton, AR, as Prowood Inc., which relocated to Clarksville in 2001. After buying control of Veneer Solutions in 2005, O'Brien and partner Gary Hogman moved it into a new 37,000 square foot manufacturing facility, built to its specifications by the City of Clarksville, TX Economic Development Commission. The new plant was funded by grants from multiple government agencies. Veneer Solutions now leases the factory from the City of Clarksville for $1 per square foot for a five year term.

Veneer Solutions also established a joint venture with German veneer experts Furwa, allowing it to adopt Furwa's highly automated continuous-line custom veneer manufacturing processes as well as distribute Furwa manufactured products in the U.S. O'Brien says the Furwa technology permits his company to delivered customized orders to veneer customers.

"We bought this company in a market segment where the manufacturing was consolidating, closing and being challenged to stay alive by Chinese competition," O'Brien says. He describes his firm's relationship with Clarksville, TX, population 3,800, as "a give and take," with Veneer Solutions hiring and serving as an ambassador for manufacturing in the city, while Clarksville provides investment incentives, low-interest loans and tax abatements to help Veneer Solutions expand and hire.

"We feel we have the right combination to excel in this industry and bring jobs back to America," says O'Brien. "We are expecting 20% growth every year for at least the next five years based on our market studies and the needs of the market.

O'Brien says Veneer Solutions has invested $1.2 million since 2006, rebuilding or replacing every piece of equipment in its factory. "In 2009 and 2010 alone an investment of over $400,000 was made for new, state-of-the art, European specialized equipment," says O'Brien. "This equipment improves efficiency and lowers costs, and allows Veneer Solutions to produce higher quality than our North American competition" The capital investment for the new equipment was partially financed by low interest rate loans from the Clarksville EDC. "These low interest rate loans were offered at a time when the banks were restricting their lending practices." O'Brien says. "Without these loans, Veneer Solutions would not have been able to make all of the plant improvements and would not have been in a position to grow the business."

In order to meet the growing demand for FSC certified products, Veneer Solutions says it will be receiving FSC certification for chain of custody controlled wood

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