The President’s Pen is a weekly blog written by Jonathan Smith, New Vision’s President and CEO about local economic development projects and initiatives. It also covers economic trends, workforce issues, business climate policies, and manufacturing news.
Earlier this morning our industry roundtable group toured Alexandria Moulding in Moxee. The visit brought back good memories as Alexandria was the first company New Vision helped recruit to our Valley back in 1989. The company, headquartered in Ontario, manufactures and distributes wood and wood composite mouldings throughout North America.
Plant manager Jeff Munly told our group that the company is doing very well these days - especially compared to a few years ago when the construction industry was ravaged by the recession. Alexandria employs 180 at the Moxee plant which is both a manufacturing facility and distribution center.
The company stocks over 2200 different molding products in Moxee. It's most popular product is a medium density fiber based molding. You can find their products at Home Depot, Lumber Liquidators, and many other home improvement stores. They also just signed up to supply Ace Hardware stores so you should see their product at these stores too.
Finding and keeping good employees is the company's biggest challenge these days. The do use a temporary employment agency, in part because they have not been able to generate enough qualified job applicants by themselves.
We also learned that Alexandria had to pivot a little over a decade ago in order to survive. When the Moxee plant was first started it quickly grew to employ 300. At that time they brought in pine from Northwest mills and manufactured it into final mouldings. Changes in the marketplace and growing limits on wood supply pushed the company to abruptly change directions.
It got out of cutting its own stock from Northwest mills and started sourcing cut stock wood blocks from abroad. Alexandria also started moving aggressively into molding production built on low- or medium density fiberboard. The company downsized employment significantly as a result but also built a larger distribution center on site to accomodate larger product output. With the change in product and production emphasis Alexandria not only survived but set the stage for future growth and sustainability.
We are very pleased that Alexandria is rooted in Moxee and doing well. They have added a lot of value to our community in the form of jobs, tax revenues, and business to business commerce.