Andersen Windows plans major Minnesota expansion

Andersen Corp. is planning to add more than 300 jobs as part of a $45 million expansion project at its manufacturing facilities in Cottage Grove and North Branch, Minn.

Andersen, the largest window and patio door maker in the U.S., will announce the plans Monday at its Bayport headquarters, where the company recently completed another major expansion project.

“This is an exciting time for Andersen,” CEO Jay Lund said in a news release. “After navigating a historic housing market recession, our markets are beginning to recover. And more importantly our investments in innovation and diversification are fueling the growth of our company.”

Despite continued weakness in new home construction, Andersen has benefited from a pair of positive trends in the housing market.

The dramatic rise in demand for multifamily housing has boosted sales of Andersen’s 100 Series, a low-cost line of windows and doors that has proven popular among developers of apartment buildings, and an increased willingness among homeowners to invest in remodeling projects has fueled demand for the replacement window Andersen line.

Since it was launched in 2009, the 100 Series has been manufactured at Andersen’s plant in Garland, Texas. To meet growing demand, the company spent $18 million in the past year refitting 100,000 square feet of space in Bayport. The expansion resulted in the addition of 100 new jobs. The company employs more than 2,000 people in Bayport.
The 100 Series line is made with the company’s proprietary Fibrex composite material, an alternative to vinyl and aluminum that is 40 percent wood fiber recycled from Andersen’s other manufacturing operations.

Andersen patented Fibrex in 1991 and began using the material in its Renewal products in 1995. The company says Fibrex is twice as strong as vinyl and prevents heat transfer nearly 700 times better than aluminum.

“It offers a great value, because it’s fairly economical to produce,” Lund said. “That’s the third piece of the puzzle: We also have to grow our Fibrex capability.”
The company’s Fibrex extrusion facility in North Branch will receive a $7 million overhaul to increase its production capacity.

Andersen will receive $1.5 million from Minnesota’s Job Creation Fund and $500,000 from the Minnesota Investment fund for the Cottage Grove and North Branch expansions. The company received $625,000 from the Job Creation fund for its Bayport expansion.

Founded by Danish immigrants in 1903 in Hudson, Wis., Andersen moved across the river to Bayport in 1913. The company employs more than 10,000 people at 15 locations in the U.S.

The company’s best-selling product long has been its flagship 400 Series of windows and doors, the high-end precursor of the 100 Series. However, the 100 Series, which retails for about 20 percent less than the 400 Series, is growing fast.

The windows are sold directly to construction companies and are available at retail outlets.

“The 100 Series has become a very substantial part of our business,” Lund said. “It’s really enabled us to reach a different segment of the market. … I think the 100 Series has the potential to some day become our best-seller from a volume perspective.”

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