Reed’s expands as metal plant’s business grows

Published 5:00 am Monday, October 19, 2009

Many companies have wilted during the dry spell of the nationalrecession, but one Brookhaven business continues to blossom.

Reed’s Metals, Inc., a growing metal manufacturing plant onHighway 84, is undergoing its third expansion project in as manyyears and will soon pull in more workers, produce more metal andpour more income into Lincoln County.

“My goal is to employ 50 people by the end of next year,” saidBernie Reed, company owner and president. “Once this new buildingis up, we’ll be able to put on at least 10, 15 more people,hopefully.”

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To expand the facility’s production capabilities and serve itsever-increasing regional market, Reed’s Metals is undergoing a $1.6million expansion that will add 32,000 square feet of productionspace and necessitate the hiring of 15 more employees. Theforthcoming commercial building fabrication shop will house newmetal-producing equipment and a pair of heavy lifting cranes, andwill measure 400 feet long by 80 feet wide.

Once completed, Reed’s Metals will be nearly 110,000 squarefeet.

Reed said the new expansion is being undertaken to allow thecompany to step up production for its growing markets, which spaneight states. The company has recently taken on three newout-of-state salesmen to manage the demand coming primarily out ofMississippi and Louisiana, with growing markets in Alabama,Arkansas, Florida, Oklahoma and Tennessee.

The company is continuing on a 20 percent per year growth rate,Reed said, despite the national economy. He said sales are up in2009 another 21 percent over 2008, when the company took in $12million revenue. This year the company intake will edge close to$15 million.

“I can’t understand it, but we’re having a really good year,”Reed said. “We’ve been blessed.”

That year is paying off for the local economy and the 35employees who work at Reed’s Metals. Reed said the company averagesa monthly payroll of around $118,000, and pays out just more than$1.4 million annually.

Such numbers are what made Reed’s Metals the Brookhaven-LincolnCounty Chamber of Commerce’s Industry of the Year in 2008. To getthere, the company had to will itself against making traditionalbusiness decisions as the economy and the metal marketcrumbled.

“We’ve doubled our advertising and took more market share, andwe keep our inventory up,” Reed said. “A lot of people cut back oninventory trying to save money, and they cut their advertising. Butpeople who doubled their advertising gained so much more marketshare.”

And when new customers are attracted to Reed’s Metals, they areserved quickly. Reed has built the company around same-day service,and has the tools to do it. Several of the metal-shaping machinesare computer-controlled with continually-updated that software thatcontains the building codes for almost every municipality in thecountry. The software designs its own construction plans and churnsout metal roofs and buildings that will can pass a city inspector’schecklist upon delivery.

“If people want it, they can come get it – we’ve got it,” Reedsaid. “Now matter how many customers we get, we keep addingmachinery to keep same-day service going. It’s been a big part ofour success.”

Reed said customers can visit his company unannounced, sit downwith a sales rep, place an order and leave with metal in less thanone hour.

“Coming in here and getting a custom roof, cut for your house,is just as easy as going to Wal-Mart and getting your grocerylist,” he said.

Brookhaven-Lincoln County Chamber of Commerce Executive VicePresident Cliff Brumfield said the addition of 15 jobs in thecurrent economy is “outstanding, something any town, big or small,can appreciate.”

“This is an example of how locally owned industry can be thebackbone of an improving economy,” he said. “Although the recessionis taking its toll on many, there are not only signs of life butprosperity beginning to rise. Reed’s Metals has weathered the stormand is coming out even stronger.”