Ashland-based Wellborn Cabinets announced last week they are expanding and opening a new kitchen and bathroom cabinet factory in Oxford.
The family-owned East Alabama company has been a fixture in the state since 1961 when founder and CEO Paul Welborn started the company that currently employs over 1,000 at its Ashland plant.
On Tuesday, John Wellborn, son of Paul Wellborn, talked to 1819 News about the new Oxford project.
“The new plant will provide 415 jobs in Calhoun County and eastern Talladega,” the younger Wellborn said.
He explained that the cabinet industry just a few years ago had been facing unfair dumping of cheaply made cabinets in the U.S. market by China.
“We went to the World Trade Association and won a 5-to-0 decision,” Wellborn said.
The Trump Administration imposed a tariff on Chinese-made cabinets.
“That has really helped save 250,000 jobs for American cabinet makers across the country,” Wellborn said.
Thus far the Biden administration has continued the Trump administration's policy on the tariff.
“We spoke with Tommy Tuberville today, and he is on board. So are Richard Shelby and Katie Britt,” Wellborn added.
Wellborn Cabinets employs 1,336 people in Ashland, Clay County.
“We already draw people from [Calhoun and Talladega Counties], and we are very familiar with the area,” Wellborn said. “Georgia made us a very competitive offer, and we like the Georgia people. But Alabama is our home.
“This will be the same product that we make now. But being by an interstate will be very different than where we are now in rural Clay County.”
Unemployment is at a record low of 2.6% in Alabama. Wellborn told 1819 News he was taking measures to deal with the challenging labor market.
“We have engaged with a firm to recruit workers,” he said. "We are a 100 percent family-owned company.”
The new location is 60 acres in the Oxford West Industrial Park in Talladega County. Construction is set to begin next spring, and the facility should be operational by the fall of 2024.
Founder and CEO Paul Wellborn said, “As we were looking at areas for expansion opportunities, we wanted to continue our growth within the state of Alabama. Oxford was very accommodating and helpful throughout the process. The new location will be close to Interstate 20 and a broader workforce, which are both critical to our success.”
The $17 million plant will be a 250,000-square-foot facility.
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