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Company expanding rubber tile plant in Georgia

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Mannington CEO Russell Grizzle discusses the company's Madison factory expansion and growth of the company with a group of attendees at groundbreaking festivities for the addition.

SALEM, N.J.—Mannington Mills Inc. is adding 45,000 square feet of space and 220 jobs to its Madison, Ga., floor tiling factory, a project expected to be finished in three years.

The company expects to complete the new hiring by 2015. The privately held manufacturer didn't disclose the cost of the expansion or other financial data.

The Salem-based company operates eight plants throughout the U.S. and one in the United Kingdom, manufacturing commercial and residential floor covering products, including rubber wall base and other types of flooring and tile. The Madison tiling factory primarily makes vinyl floor tiles, but it does produce some rubber tile. The company said most of its rubber products are made at its San Jose, Calif., facility.

Rubber flooring tiles have been a growing part of the Mannington Mills business, said Joe Walker, director of sales for Burke Flooring, a division of Mannington Mills.

"We have had to increase capacity at our San Jose manufacturing facilities to handle the jobs that Mannington is bringing, such as large health care and education jobs through project-based spe-cifications," Walker said. "Mannington rubber sheet flooring is made overseas, but to our standards."

At its Madison and Conyers facilities in Georgia, Mannington manufactures LVT, for luxury vinyl tile, which is the flooring industry's fastest-growing product category, said Mannington CEO Rus-- sell Grizzle. The two plants were part of Mannington's acquisition of Amtico International in 2012. The Madison plant is being expanded in direct relation to Mannington's commitment to bring LVT manufacturing back to the U.S. from overseas.

"Through the recent economic downturn, LVT continued to experience double-digit growth annually, and demand for LVT is forecast to remain on a strong upward trajectory. We believe that expanding the Madison facilities is the right thing to do, to help us better serve our customers, as well as helping us continue our global leadership position in the LVT market," Grizzle said.

Trends are changing as customers are starting to realize the benefit of rubber tiles, Walker said.

"As a product, rubber tiling is a little more expensive than other resilient flooring out of the gate, but over time, the lifecycle costs are better with rubber," Walker said. Customers save money in the long run, he said.

"Right now, the biggest area for growth is in health care, secondly in education and also industrial applications where we are starting to see people installing rubber because it is quieter and has better comfort underfoot."

A fourth-generation family business, Mannington Mills currently employs more than 700 across the country and more than 500 at its corporate headquarters. The expansion in Madison will make it the company's second-largest facility. At its nine worldwide locations, Mannington employs more than 2,000.