NOX planning multimillion expansion

NOX US will hire an additional 50 workers within the next year as part of a multimillion-dollar commitment to its Fostoria plant.

On Thursday, representatives of the South Korean vinyl tile maker announced plans to invest tens of millions of dollars in machinery, building renovations and personnel in 2018 to meet a growing demand in the flooring market.

“We are actually growing a lot faster than our original plan and sales will continue to grow next year,” said Dan Koh, president and CEO of NOX Corp. “We’re hoping we can grow even farther.”

Based out of Seoul, South Korea, NOX opened the Fostoria plant in November 2015, taking residence inside the former Atlas Crankshaft facility on U.S. 23.
The Fostoria factory is the company’s first in the United States.

Two years ago, NOX invested $2 million into a 16,820 square-foot addition onto the existing building. With this investment, the company will add roughly 60,000 square feet of floor space to the Fostoria plant and install a new machine capable of producing a Luxury Vinyl Tile (LVT) better suited for residential use.

The company plans to break ground on the expansion this spring with construction expected to be finished by the fall. Jin Choi, director of the NOX Business Development Team, said the project will require about six months to complete. “We are pretty much on track,” Choi said.

There are 105 people presently employed at the Fostoria site, but the expansion will require the company to fill at least 50 more skilled production positions by this time next year.

In the meantime, Donna Freehafer, human resources manager for NOX US, said she is currently seeking applicants for more than a dozen immediate vacancies.  Wages start at $12 per hour, and increase to $16 per hour in a year.“In one production area, we’re having to expand to 24-hour operation just to keep up with the sales increases,” said Freehafer, adding U.S. sales in 2017 more than doubled from last year.

The skyrocketing demand will mean another sizable investment in Fostoria in the near future. Details are scarce, but Koh said NOX plans to install additional machinery in 2019 that will double its production capacity.

“NOX US will probably be the biggest capacity LVT factory in the U.S. with the next two years’ investments,” he said. “Fostoria needs to be very proud that it has this No. 1 factory in the U.S.”

Since its inception in 1994, NOX Corp. has earned a global reputation as the industry leader in LVT flooring innovation, design and manufacturing. Its vinyl tile is sold by distributors to commercial customers, such as large office buildings and hospitals, in more than 50 countries.
Of the many reasons NOX chose Fostoria as the site of its first North American facility were its close proximity to major highways and its distance from other major flooring markets.

“Our competition wants to know how we operate and how we’re running our production,” said Koh. “There were some other sites known for being flooring towns, so we wanted to be away from those sites.”

In addition to the more than 100 workers at the Fostoria plant, there are about 800 people employed between the manufacturing facilities in South Korea and Europe.
Koh said he has enjoyed his first two years in Fostoria and hopes to soon take a more active role in the community.

“I feel at home when I come here,” he said. “Right now, we are really focusing on stabilizing our production, hiring more people and growing our company; but later, we really want to do more things for the community.”

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