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Carolina Carports expanding into Tishmingo County

BELMONT – The geographically central location of Mississippi combined with an existing facility available for lease through another manufacturer, Baymont Inc., is credited with the decision of Carolina Carports Inc. to expand in Mississippi.

“The location was geographically advantageous,” said Donnie Hamm, spokesperson for Carolina Carports, which sells carports, garages and other metal buildings in a variety of sizes and colors. “We’re coming to Mississippi because that will help cut down on travel time for our employees doing installation jobs. It will be a stopping point between Texas and Georgia. It will also help serve our customers more quickly having a manufacturing plant in Mississippi.”

Carolina Carports, which is based in Dobson, N.C., has operations in North Carolina, Georgia, Missouri, Pennsylvania and Texas. The company is also planning an expansion into Tennessee. Hamm said the plan for Mississippi is similar to the other states. The new manufacturing plant will start out with just a few employees, with the workforce growing as sales increase in the area.

“When we started in Texas, we had three employees and now we have 60 that run our Texas division,” Hamm said. “We started out with three dealers in 1996. Now we have 5,000 dealers. We have dealers everywhere. We service 21 states right now.”

Carolina Carports (www.carolinacarportsinc.com) was founded by Javier and Adela Herrera in 1997.

It takes only an hour to install a basic carport. So the company set up runs for contract workers to work out of town. Hamm said now if workers finishing a job in Texas are headed to Georgia, they can stop midway in Mississippi.

“These are hard, hard workers,” Hamm said. “They work six days out of seven. Sometimes we buy houses for workers. A lot of times contractors get hotel rooms, but sometimes we buy houses for the workers located near our manufacturing operations. Usually we buy some kind of real estate in every state where we are located.”

Hamm said their products are popular with everyone from farmers who need storage buildings to young people who want to protect their cars. The company has tried to find out what market segment make up the majority of their business. But the uses are so widespread it is hard to make generalizations.

The affordability of the carports is attractive to people on budgets. Hamm said the most popular carport is the less expensive 14-gauge carport, which most dealers have displayed on their lot. That carport carries no warranty. The second kind of carport is more expensive and is made of 12-gauge tubing.

“This is a first-quality carport with a limited warranty,” Hamm said. “It carries a 20-year warranty on the entire unit. The third kind of carport is the most expensive structure that our company carries. This unit is the strongest available. It is called a Certified Carport. These carports come with an engineered stamped certification. It carries the same 20-year limited warranty as the 12-gauge and is also guaranteed to withstand winds from 80 to 100 miles per hour and 20 pounds per square foot of snow load. This is the only carport that is guaranteed to withstand any winds or snow load.”

Prices vary depending on location.

Carolina Carports is leasing space from Baymont Inc. in the old Belmont Homes factory in Belmont. Baymont recently purchased some of the Belmont Homes buildings to give them more space than they had at their former location in a neighboring county in Alabama.

Brenda Grissom, who handles sales and service for Baymont, said the facilities in the former Belmont Homes factory now house Baymont subsidiary Golden Bath Products Inc., which produces doors for bath-shower enclosures for homes or manufactured homes. Several months ago that division was moved into the Belmont Homes building.

Baymont Inc. is a manufacturer of fiberglass tubs, showers and whirlpool baths that has had operations in Golden for a number of years. The company currently employs about 100 workers in Golden, which is a couple of miles from Belmont in Tishomingo County.

Grissom said press reports about new jobs being created by their move to Mississippi were incorrect.

“We have been inundated with applications for jobs,” she said. “But no new jobs are being created. Employees moved over with the company. There are no new openings at present, and no additional hiring is necessary at this time.”

Belmont Mayor Bob Yarber said Baymont Inc. is a homegrown company that has done well in the marketplace.

“The company already has a tremendous economic impact on the county,” Yarber said. “We also welcome Carolina Carports Inc., which is new to our community.”

Baymont`s headquarters is located on Red Bay Road in Golden. The company is housed in a 110,000-square-foot building that encompasses both the manufacturing facility and administrative offices.

Demand for the products is strong.

“Business is good,” Grissom said. “Demand for the products has increased, and if business continues to increase, hiring of new employees will be possible in the near future.”

Contact MBJ contributing writer Becky Gillette at bgillette@bellsouth.net.

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