CLARKSDALE — When Molded Acoustical Products (MAP) of Easton, Inc., which is headquartered in Pennsylvania, was looking for a manufacturing site in Mississippi, it had to act quickly in order to gear up production to meet the needs of a client in the area.
Company officials contacted the Mississippi Department of Economic and Community Development (MDECD), and went on a week-long tour scouting potential sites from one end of the state to the other.
“We looked at buildings in quite a few cities in Mississippi, but they weren’t quite what we were looking for,” said John Hanni, vice president and controller of MAP. “The sites were either cost prohibitive or the building wasn’t quite what we wanted. The last day we were there we got to Clarksdale, and they happened to have a spec building that was 60,000 square feet, only nine years old, and it was empty. It was in pretty good condition.
“We looked at the building, got a price, and before the day was out we had a handshake agreement. The whole deal came together from there. MDECD, Entergy and local officials were very helpful. We just got the contacts we needed up there.”
Hanni said MAP founder and CEO John D’Amico Sr., had been interested in establishing the company’s third manufacturing operation in Mississippi for about a decade. The company almost located in Senatobia 12 years ago, but the deal fell through. With transportation costs increasing due to higher gasoline prices, earlier this year the company once again started looked at Mississippi as a location to serve key clients in the Southeast and Mexico by reducing freight costs.
“Mississippi is a good location for an east-west corridor,” Hanni said. “We’ve been saying for years that Mississippi is a good place to go. We have some customers east of Mississippi and west of Mississippi. We also have a major supplier that is within a few hundreds miles of Mississippi. So about a year ago, Mr. D’Amico said it was time to look at Mississippi again because there is lots of potential business in the area.”
Hanni said MAP has a major customer within a hundred miles of Clarksdale. That customer promised that if MAP was successful in locating a plant in the area, the customer would do more business with the company.
“Shipping costs are so critical,” Hanni said. “Reducing transportation costs for customers is very important with the current high cost of gasoline.”
Once the site selection was made, things moved quickly with Gov. Ronnie Musgrove participating in a ribbon-cutting ceremony March 27. Hanni said the Coahoma County Chamber of Commerce, the Coahoma County Board of Supervisors, and Entergy Mississippi were all very helpful. By the end of April, the plant was up and running.
“We got up pretty quickly,” Hanni said. “We’re making product. We’re not up to full capacity, but we’re satisfying that customer’s needs. Being situated where we are in Mississippi, we believe we can attract the rest of our customer base in the surrounding area, and that customer base is very diversified. We are confident we will get the plant up to capacity in no time at all.”
MAP currently has seven employees at the Clarksdale facility, and expects to grow to a maximum of 55 in the current size of the building.
“The building is expandable and, if the business climate warrants it, we will certainly expand it and create more jobs,” Hanni said. “We are extremely optimistic, to say the least.”
The company, which also has manufacturing plants in Easton, Pa., and Elkhart, Ind., employs about 200 people company wide. The company produces architectural products such as molded fiberglass partitions for offices that are covered with fabric, and automotive products such as automobile hood linings, fire walls, muffler linings and interior acoustical linings. Currently, the Clarksdale facility is producing the molded fiberglass partition panels.
“We use our own product in our offices,” Hanni said. “The partitions look attractive with designer material on the outside. The partitions buffer sound so it keeps the office very quiet. It creates a buffer between desks so we don’t disturb each other.”
Hanni expects the company will expand at the Clarksdale plant into other products manufactured by the company by attracting customers for those product lines.
MAP of Easton is a full-service design capable, engineering and manufacturing company providing products with thermal and acoustical properties. MAP of Easton produces specialty-molded and fabricated fiberglass products for many markets.
The company is QS 9000/ISO 9002-certified. For more information, call (662) 627-7811 or (610) 253-7135. The company’s Web site is located at www.mapeaston.com.
Contact MBJ staff writer Becky Gillette at email@example.com or (228) 872-3457.