CROSSVILLE – A Crossville business is planning a massive expansion that could have a far-reaching ripple effect on Cumberland County.
Stonepeak Ceramics, a porcelain tile manufacturer, is in the midst of a $50-$60 million project that would expand its current facility, add storage capability and pave the way for a new production line, among other improvements. It’s expected to be complete in July.
Stonepeak has outgrown its 750,000-square-foot plant and first announced expansion plans back in 2012 – but didn’t actually break ground until last summer because the scope increased substantially. While there is a definite need to increase capacity, said Milko Camellini, plant manager, they also decided to outfit Stonepeak with the “latest technology possible.” There will be added space for a new kiln, a new production line and more on-site and raw material storage.
Stonepeak manufactures a variety of porcelain tile flooring, some collections of which are now sold to a national home improvement retailer. In 2014, Stonepeak produced 8 million square meters of tile. The expansion, more than 300,000 square feet in all, will allow the company to boost that number 40 percent – to 12 million square meters per year.
“That’s a huge number,” Camellini said. “We are very fortunate because our market’s doing very well. Even during the winter, we didn’t see the usual decrease in sales.”
With the expansion, there are definite plans to hire more people – Camellini wouldn’t give a specific number, although past news reports have said at least 50 new jobs will be added, a number that was based on 2012’s plans. The state-of-the-art equipment installation will require the expertise of specialized technicians, upwards of 120 people, he said, who will need to be on-site in Cumberland County for roughly six months. That means an even broader economic impact, he said.
“We’re not only providing business to the construction companies and local workforce, but even hotels, restaurants, shopping places,” Camellini said. “It’s going to be a significant injection of business into town. And then comes the hiring. We’re going to need more engineers, more technicians.
“We are aiming to increase the level of technology, we’re going to be able to supply more customers, and the new equipment will allow us to do bigger sizes, stuff that, until now, was only possible by importing materials from Europe,” he added. “A new production line will allow us to introduce the latest generation of material into the business.
“We are really excited.”