United Casework Bringing Jobs To City

A new company locating in Gadsden will mean about 80 new jobs, city and company officials said Tuesday.

United Casework will be housed in the former Custom Panel/Expressions Cabinetry building on Thomas Drive off Alabama Highway 77 and will produce flat-panel products, according to Bob Miller, the company’s president and chief executive officer.


United Casework is in the process of clearing out inventory and machinery from the building’s previous occupant.
The company plans to start production in June and initially will hire 25 to 30 employers, said Avery Boyd, vice president of manufacturing.

That figure should jump to about 80 by next year, Miller said, adding that it will take about a year to train employees and “ramp up” production.

The company will manufacture industrial casework, which Miller described as cabinetry used in a commercial setting. It specializes in the flat-panel product area, which includes cabinets, casework, commercial cabinet doors, commercial and retail fixtures and millwork.

Miller said United Casework’s products will be used in schools, hospitals, major apartment complexes and assisted

living facilities and the company will deal with contractors on a national scale. He expects the plant to ship between $10 million and $15 million annually in products from the Gadsden plant.

The company’s other stockholder besides Miller and Boyd is Barth Barnhart.

Mayor Sherman Guyton said he was glad to see the firm make the decision to locate in Gadsden.

“We’re all about jobs and economic development,” Guyton said.

Miller said United Casework had worked on acquiring the property for several years. It provided financing to Custom Panel after the firm went into bankruptcy and recently acquired the property and equipment.

The building has been idle for about a year. Miller said he and his partners like the way the facility is laid out and believe it meets their needs.

“We’re delighted to be here,” he said.

Miller said positions at the facility would be “semi-skilled, technically oriented” employment.

“There’s a lot of trainable people here,” he said, adding that the necessary skills could be learned on the job.

Employees will be “cross-trained” in several positions, according to Boyd.

Miller called Gadsden a good location for a variety of reasons, including its location in the Southeast, a good climate and a good workforce. He described Gadsden as a “friendly community that wants businesses to development and move forward here.”

He added, “The entire package here is what we like. Everything about Gadsden is positive.”

Miller said he and his partners have owned wood-working businesses in other parts of the county for 15 years and he has been in the flat-panel product industry for 30 years. However, this is their first manufacturing plant.

He predicted that when their full business plan is implemented in the next six to seven years, their companies will be in the top 10 of flat-panel wood product firms in the U.S.

Mike McCain, executive director of the Gadsden-Etowah Industrial Development Authority, said the city offered the standard ad valorem tax abatements excluding education taxes to United Casework and promised the firm an adjacent five-acre site at no charge if it chooses to expand the plant.

Miller said if the plant did expand, employment could reach as much as 180.

Applications now are being accepted at the Gadsden Career Center.

By Andy Powell
Times Staff Writer