By LISA MONTI
Infinity-AP is moving its custom storefront fabrication operation from Chalmette, La., to the vacant 84 Lumber location off U.S. 90 in Waveland. Co-owner Rick Bradley said the goal is to open in early 2017 with up to 15 employees.
The company designs, engineers and fabricates custom storefronts for international retailers. Bradley said their best known customers are Abercrombie & Fitch and its subsidiary Hollister Co., and Victoria’s Secret and its PINK chain of stores for younger customers. Infinity-AP also has done work for American brands around the world, including the Middle East, Central and South America and the Caribbean.
The company outgrew the 10,000-square-foot building it leased in Chalmette. The new location has a 20,000-square-footbuilding, a 10,000 square feet building and two canopied areas with 9,000 square feet each. The entire site covers almost five acres.
“We are going to be bringing about $750,000 worth of equipment from Chalmette and likely will invest $300,000 in the facility just to get it up and running,” Bradley said. “We’ve got several months worth of renovations.”
Infinity-AP is based in Dallas, where it was founded by Bradley and Herb Buford four years ago. Half of their 25 employees work in Dallas. “In Waveland, we’re looking at 12 to 15 jobs initially,” Bradley said.
Bradley has designed stores for GAP and the first 50 Apple stores and was general manager of the company that produced all of the glass systems for Cowboy Stadium in Dallas. He will oversee the new Waveland fabrication operation while Buford works out of the Dallas office with Infinity’s engineers and drafters.
Bradley said the retailers have a standard design for their storefronts and his company manipulates the aluminum and glass to fit the physical space. They also work with retailers who have a concept but no detailed designs for their storefronts.”We say, ‘Show us what you’d like to have and we’ll show you how to build it.’ “
Bradley estimates there are only about a half dozen companies like his in the U.S. that do storefronts.
In an average year, Infinity-AP will produce about 100 storefronts, mostly for U.S. locations.
The storefronts are made of glass, aluminum sheet materials and aluminum composite material. and each takes about two days to fabricate. In addition to designing the storefronts, Infinity-AP stocks hard-to-find display windows, door handles and other custom design elements. “We manage the glass purchases and go to the sites to marry the glass up with the metal portion,” he said.
The fabricators will work a single shift but more production may be added. “Right now we can manage our capacity off a single shift but that could change in 2017,” he said.
Bradley said Infinity-AP has seen a continued increase in business, which reflects an improving economy and more construction.
“In the retail world, typically the high-end retailers will turn over their store design every seven years,” he said. But aggressive retailers like L Brands, the parent company of Victoria’s Secret, update their storefronts more often. “We don’t see a downturn to their business,” he said.
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