Lowes millwork plant in Janesville opened its doors Monday. The facility is expected to create at least 100 jobs in the next few months. And landing Lowes for this project has the potential to create even more economic opportunities for the region.
The board-cutting ceremony in Janesville was a little slice of happiness for at least sixty people, now employed at the new Lowes millwork plant. Some have been out of work for more than a year.
"It's exciting to have work after that length of time, it really is," says Tom Jewel.
"I have job security here. I know that I could possibly retire from this facility and that's something you don't get anymore in America," adds employee Jon Onesty.
Workers will make 300,000 interior and exterior doors for Lowes. Wisconsin governor Jim Doyle says he knows why Lowes picked Janesville.
"They'll find the best workers they can find anywhere. They'll find hardworking people, real quality and I know we'll do a good job for them," says Doyle.
The state also provided a loan for $500,000 for the company's expansion.
"And as they talk about needs for more distribution, who knows what may happen down the road," says Doyle.
Janesville is also being considered, along with Beloit, Rockford and Dekalb, for a new Lowes distribution center. The facility would create at least 600 new jobs. But Lowes is staying tight lipped about that decision.
"We're always evaluating where we'll need our next facility, but at this time we're not making any announcements on where this facility will be," says Mike Mabry, Executive Vice President of Distribution and Logistics for Lowes.
Mabry says the distribution center decision on location, workforce quality as well as economic incentives.
"We found a wonderful location here with a great workforce that we believe will be a great millwork facility, but really that doesn't bear on where we'll put our next facility," says Mabry.
City leaders, however, are hoping it does. They want to build on this relationship with Lowes and open the door to even more economic opportunities in the future.
Lowes will open its first home improvement store in the state in Milwaukee later this year. The company also plans on hiring even more people for the millwork plant in Janesville in the next few months.