AYM to begin facility expansion next month

By Thomas Wilson

STAR STAFF
twilson@starhq.com

   The A.Y. McDonald plumbing supply facility will double the size of its facility in the Watauga Industrial Park after a major expansion beginning in September, according to the county's Economic Development Director Haynes Elliott.
   The plant manager said growth in the company's plumbing supply market had contributed to the $856,000 expansion.
   "Our plumbing supplies business has expanded at a pretty good rate," said Kenny Eller, plant manager.
   Eller said the expansion was scheduled to start in early September and would double the size of the 49,000-square-foot building.
   He said the expansion would not mean immediate new job openings in the short term. However, new jobs would be created in the future, he said.
   "The main reason is to expand the warehouse and storage facility," said Eller. "Eventually, that will allow us to expand our manufacturing side also."
   The plant currently employs 35 workers, said Eller.
   AYM purchased the county's pre-constructed building and 10-acre parcel in the Watauga Industrial Park in April 1999.
   Elliott said grading for the expansion was expected to begin next week. The expansion should be completed in 60 to 90 days, he said.
   The plant is one of three manufacturing facilities of A.Y.M., Inc., a division of A.Y. McDonald Manufacturing Company.
   The A.Y. McDonald Co. has its headquarters in Dubuque, Iowa, near the Mississippi River. The brass foundry and company's primary manufacturing plant are also located in this facility.
   The company manufactures waterworks brass, plumbing valves, pumps and water systems and high pressure gas valves and meter bars.
   The Elizabethton facility serves as a distribution center for A.Y. McDonald plumbing products, and products primarily used in the eastern United States, according to the company's Web site.