FLORENCE — Production at the temporary facility for the TASUS Corporation’s new operation is in production as work continues on its new plant, company officials said.
“Right now we have 10 employees at the temporary site. We have (developed) sample parts for North America Lighting, and Friday we shipped our first parts,” TASUS President Melanie Hart said.
The Japanese auto parts supplier TASUS Corp. is a major supplier for North American Lighting’s Muscle Shoals plant and plans to hire 135 employees during the next five years.
The temporary facility is on Wall Street in Florence, just off Helton Drive.
In September, the company announced plans for a $19.1 million investment in building a 104,000-square-foot plant at Florence-Lauderdale Industrial Park.
“I visited the temporary site and was very impressed with what I saw,” Florence Mayor Mickey Haddock said.
Hart said the company is making taillight lenses for the Nissan Pathfinder, Altima and Toyota vehicles.
Haddock said he was told during his visit that the company can produce two lenses every 64 seconds.
“And that’s in a temporary facility,” Haddock said.
Hart said she is pleased with the team that has been assembled at the temporary location.
“They’re working together and it’s really refreshing to see them so eager to learn and to put out a good product,” she said. “We have three machines in the facility right now, one is up and running parts. The other two will begin making parts over the next few weeks.”
She said a fourth machine will be installed in March. “And that will fill the temporary location,” Hart said.
Meanwhile, Hart said work on the site of the new plant is going well and is a little ahead of schedule.
The foundation is complete and she said construction workers began putting up the walls to the plant last week.
“We’re really pleased with the work that is being done there,” she said.
Haddock said most of the subcontractors being used on the project are local workers. The permanent facility will be on Parkway Drive, near Gerrard Drive.
Haddock said the city will be building a road into the site. He said engineering plans are being developed.
“I was out there a couple of weeks ago and I couldn’t believe the progress that is being made,” Lauderdale County Commission Chairman Dewey Mitchell said. “They are really moving on with it.”
Hart said if construction continues to be ahead of schedule, the company hopes to start bringing in equipment and start some work at the plant in by mid-July and “be in full force by the middle of August.”
Hart said the company has received many job applications but there aren’t a lot of openings right now.
“Starting in the summer, we will be gearing up with the employment as we start getting ready to move into the new facility,” she said.
Haddock said company officials said they have been pleased with the quality workforce that have applied for the positions.
Mitchell said there is a lot of potential for economic growth in the area through TASUS.
“Getting this company here and putting people to work is going to be a good shot in the arm for our economy,” Mitchell said. “I’m glad to see things progressing as they plan. We want to see them succeed. Success breeds success.”
Tom Smith can be reached at 256-740-5757 or tom.smith@TimesDaily.com.