|By Dennis Brown
A Minnesota company
has announced that it will expand its manufacturing operations in Lewis County to a former
shoe factory building in Vanceburg.
Northern Contours, the company that located in another former shoe factory building two
years ago, has signed a lease with the City of Vanceburg for the former Nin West building
on Ky. Rt. 8.
Company President Mike Rone said last week while visiting the facility, and to sign
papers with the city, said he is excited with the move that will bring to five the number
of manufacturing facilities for the company.
Rone said work has already begun to replace lighting and move specialized equipment
into the 40,000 square foot building. He said that he expects production to begin in
January with 35 to 40 new employees.
The existing location on Lions Lane, across from Lewis County High School, specializes
in veneered panels. The new facility will utilize those panels with other materials to
produce components for the housing industry.
Hussein Hammound, local plant manager, said the new location will also feature a
showroom of the products made. Hammoud added that the facility may expand again and have
as many as 60 employees. The facility on Lions Lane currently has 60 employees.
Vanceburg Mayor W.T. Cooper said that US Shoe started in Vanceburg in 1957 with about
as many workers and eventually employed some 500.
Cooper had said previously that attracting employers of such magnitude would be nice,
but that a more realistic expectation would be around 100 employees. He added that in the
event of losing a smaller employer, the economic impact would be much less than losing
". . . all of the eggs in one basket."
Rone said he is planning a long-term commitment to Vanceburg and Lewis County, and work
ethics played a great deal in the decision to expand here.
Rone and Duaine Miranowski, vice president of operations for Northern Contours, said
there were two primary reasons for the company to invest in Lewis County.
Rone said the first was the determination of Mayor Cooper in facilitating the project.
Brown/Lewis County Herald
On hand for the lease signing were, left to right,
Mayor Bill Tom Cooper, Victor Monteon, Hussein Hammoud, Mike Rone and Heriberto Monteon.
"Mayor Cooper and his staff understand Northern Contours' needs and have worked
diligently and creatively to bring the deal together," he said. "The mayor and
his staff extended their services well beyond the building lease arrangements. They've
helped us with the building renovation, utility issues, directing us to the proper
channels for state training and loan programs, and have supported us on numerous other
Rone added that a second primary reason was the quality and dedication of the
"Our first experience with Lewis County has been excellent and the facility here
has grown faster than anticipated," added Miranowski. "This is due to the work
ethic and capabilities of our employees."
"They have given us the confidence to move forward," he continued. "We
know we'll continue to have a quality workforce as our business grows."
Hammoud said the company will seek employees in the near future and will well advertise
when the company will accept applications.
He said that when the company first announced plans to locate here early in 2001, they
were inundated with applicants. "Some 500 to 600 people applied for jobs," he
said. "We hope to have a pool as vast as that for our new location."
Northern Contours has two plants in Minnesota, one in Corbin, Kentucky, and now two in