By Dennis Brown
After having expanded to Lewis County just over four years ago, Northern Contours now has more than 100 employees in two locations and are in the process of purchasing the buildings they had been leasing from the city and county.
The company manufactures custom cabinet doors for customers all across the country. They're located in both buildings formerly occupied by Nine West, a shoe manufacturing company.
Kenny Clark, Human resources Director for Northern Contours, said there are 89 employees at the location on Lions Lane across from Lewis County High School, and 27 employees at the location on Ky. Rt. 8 in Vanceburg.
"We have a good workforce and the workers meet their quotas for each hour," Clark said. He added that the promise of good workmanship and attendance were critical in attracting the company to expand here in 2001.
The company first expanded to the Lions Lane location and then in July of 2003 began operation in the Ky. Rt. 8 location. More equipment and employees are planned for the second location in the near future.
Northern Contours began in 1992 at Ferguson Falls, Minnesota, and has been growing since then.
Plant Manager Hussein Hammoud said the company custom manufactures cabinet doors for many customers. Orders range from one to 10,000 and the turnaround from order to shipping is five work days.
Clark said sheets of particle board and veneer from the northern US and Canada arrive at Lions Lane where they are sorted and graded.
From there the particle board, which is made from wheat stock, goes to the core area where it is cut with automated machines. The core then goes to the humidity controlled veneer area where the veneer wood, ranging from walnut to pine, is placed on the particle board core. It then goes to the sanding department where it goes through several processes and inspections to prepare it for the next step.
Dennis Brown/Lewis County
Marlene Mefford, left, and Frieda Lewis
inspect just sanded veneered inserts under bright lights at Northern
Contours. The company has more than 100 employees in two locations in Lewis
The finished inserts are then taken to the Ky. Rt. 8 location where the rails or frames are added.
The frames, four pieces for each door, are cut with automated equipment. The doors are assembled, sanded, inspected and carefully prepared for shipment to customers across the country.
Hammoud said the plant produces about 15,000 square feet of product per work day. He added that Northern Contours is the only company in the US to custom make cabinet doors from blueprints provided by customers.
Clark said the Lions Lane location has two shifts of workers while the Ky. Rt. 8 location has one shift.
Hammoud said customer demand is fairly steady throughout the year with December and January generally being the busiest months.
The company backs up their product with a five-year warranty and prides itself on the satisfaction of its customers.
"We just want to have everyone satisfied," Hammoud said.