NARMCO Plans Plant Expansion

It’s an existing company, but still a new industry for Gadsden.

Prince Metal Stampings USA Inc., which already employs about 60 people in the city, will build a second auto parts plant at the Gadsden Airport Industrial Park this year. The new plant will employ between 60 and 80 people. Construction will begin next month, with completion planned for December.

“We are very pleased with our initial investment decision two years ago in selecting Gadsden for our first facility in the South, where we currently employ over 60 people on a two-shift basis,” said Donald Rodzik, chief executive officer of the Windsor, Ontario-based NARMCO Group, in a statement. Prince Metal Stampings is part of the NARMCO Group.

Rodzik said his company hopes to repeat its Gadsden success in the new building, which he says will use “state of the art production equipment and methodologies.”

“The main stamping presses are some of the largest ever seen in the South and, we feel, represent a unique business opportunity for both NARMCO and the Gadsden/Etowah area,” he said.

Mayor Steve Means said he was pleased by the company’s decision. “NARMCO hasn’t been with us that long, and already they’ve made an agreement to invest $25 million more, and that speaks well of the work ethic of the people in our area,” he said.

Mike McCain, executive director of the Gadsden-Etowah Industrial Development Authority, said Gadsden had to compete for the plant with other cities in the area. He did not know who Gadsden beat for the plant.

NARMCO first contacted the IDA on Feb. 8 and the deal fell into place quickly. Company officials notified Means of their decision Tuesday. The mayor said he and some council members toured the Prince Metal Stampings facility recently and came away impressed.

“I’ve seen a lot of plants in my life, but I’ve never seen one that’s as clean and neat,” he said. “We’re changing the concept of factory work in Gadsden. It’s no longer hot plants with grease and oil and bad smells that our fathers and grandfathers had to work in. The plants like NARMCO and some of the others that we’re attracting now are absolutely immaculate and provide a very comfortable workplace, and that’s important because a lot of young people, when they think of factory work, they think of Detroit and the way it used to be.”

McCain said the company’s decision is good for the area. “It’s a huge capital investment on their part. It’s a good number of jobs and good wage rates,” he said. “It further expands and diversifies the industrial base and results in new jobs, payrolls, spending and tax revenues.”

McCain said the city promised its normal incentives, such as abatement of non-educational taxes, site preparation assistance and “cost reduction assistance” through the Horizons 2012 program, in which private businesses contribute to the IDA.

Rodzik said he likes the unified local approach to attracting business. “They have once again clearly and overtly demonstrated their commitment to make Gadsden and Etowah County the automotive parts manufacturing hub of northeast Alabama,” he said. “We sincerely wish that we had such innovative and aggressive civic leadership in Canada. The community is genuinely open for business and we look forward to many decades of mutual success and continued growth.”

By David Clemons
Times Staff Writer