PLANS OTHER PRODUCTS ALSO
Converse said he plans to manufacture these (air naturalizers) and, eventually, other related products in Greeneville, beginning later this year and growing over a period of a few years. He said he hopes to be able to attract many of the former Alpine Industries staff back to his new operation. At the moment, he does not yet have a building for the operation, but he said he is working on that issue. He added, in fact, that he would love to be able to return to the very same building in the Mt. Pleasant Industrial Park where Alpine and its successor company operated from 1997 to 2009.
GOAL WAS TO HAVE PLANT HERE
Converse explained that since 2012 he has been manufacturing and distributing the CritterZone product from a facility in southern China, near Guangzhou (the former Canton), and has been successful with the product. But, he said, “The goal has always been that, once we got the product established and recognized, we would be coming back into the Greeneville area to set up a factory again. We have just now basically reached that point.” He is no longer operating in China, he said. …
But he said he hopes to be operating in Greene County at some level — beginning with assembly rather than manufacturing— within the next 90days.Over the next 3-6 months, he said, he thinks his operation here might be employing about 100 people — but he calls that “a real iffy number.”“It’s probably going to be over the next 12 months before we get into full operation,” he added.
He said he hopes eventually to be employing around 500 people here. Converse said that his plans call for the local plant to be doing not just assembly but every aspect of product-manufacturing. “That [vertically-integrated manufacturing] is the only way the economics work out,” he stated. “We have some basic manufacturing to do,” he noted. “We have to build some dies, etc. We’re going to build everything new again.” The only factor that might accelerate the process of getting into operation, he said, is that some Chinese companies want to buy American-made air purifiers. “That may speed us up,” he said, since when Chinese companies place orders, the orders are very large.
Note: This is an abridged version of the article. You can view the article in its entirety on these two pages: Part 1. Part 2.