Pro Chiller expanding in Davie

Published 12:40 pm Thursday, May 23, 2019

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By Jeanna Baxter White

Pro Chiller Systems will shift the production of all standard equipment from its Auburn, Wash. headquarters to its east coast manufacturing facility in Mocksville, effective June 30.

Pro Refrigeration designs, manufactures, and distributes state-of-the-art refrigeration systems for the dairy, winery, food processing, medical, and brewing industries.

Since opening in North Carolina in 2013, the percentage of equipment produced in North Carolina versus Washington has steadily increased, reaching a 75 percent (NC) to 25 percent (WA) split in 2018.

Pro will continue with limited manufacturing in Auburn with a focus on product development, testing, and certification.

“From a business standpoint, it makes sense to have all of our standard products produced in a single facility,” said Jim VanderGiessen, CEO. “We’ve invested in building a world-class facility in North Carolina, adding this volume will challenge us, but the capacity is there. On a personal level, it’s really a tough call to make when decisions affect longtime members of the team.

“Several factors were considered before making this decision. First of all, our production costs are lower in North Carolina for many reasons, primarily because we are producing more here and benefit from the economy of scale.

“Secondly, we have 80 percent of our suppliers within a one-day drive of our Mocksville plant which decreases inventory and transportation costs.

“Lastly, our facility costs are much lower. It currently costs the same to operate our 25,000 square-foot plant in Washington as it does to operate our 65,000 square-foot plant in North Carolina.”

According to VanderGiessen, the move will save the company about 15 percent in production costs.

The Mocksville facility at Beechtree Place just off of Farmington Road near I-40, employs approximately 35 people. With the consolidation, the Mocksville manufacturing facility will hire as many as five additional employees and increase production by 25 percent.

The Auburn headquarters will continue to have an important role in Pro’s ongoing strategy, he said.

In addition to ongoing finance/accounting, customer service, training, and inside sales – this new shift will focus on product development and product certification.

“Going forward, the priority in Auburn will be developing and testing new equipment and finding additional industries to serve,” VanderGiessen said. “We’ve spent the past 30 years disrupting some big markets and are excited about the opportunities we are working on. Having a dedicated team and facility for these opportunities is huge

“Our goal is to create some new roles in both Auburn and Mocksville and find opportunities for anyone affected, we will do everything we can to minimize the impact on the team.

“Davie County continues to prove itself as the right location for our East Coast operation and has become home. It has been a supportive community since day one and continues to be. That’s why we are increasing our investment here.”

Terry Bralley, president of the Davie County Economic Development Commission is pleased with that decision.

“Davie County Economic Development continues to make an impact with connections across the United States. We are grateful for companies like Pro Refrigeration that believe and invest in Davie County.”

Company History

Pro Refrigeration landed in Mocksville in 2013 after a year-long search for a site that would fit expansion plans. The family-owned manufacturer decided that the Davie County facility and the community best reflected their vision.  According to Vandergiessen,  the company chose  Davie County for “its skilled workforce,  the business-friendly environment, and the amazing support we’ve received from everyone we’ve met.”

Two years later, the company outgrew its 40,000 square feet of space in the former Crown Wood building on John Crotts Road and expanded into its current 65,000 square feet of space in the former Renegade Tobacco warehouse. The layout of the new location doubled the amount of space dedicated to the manufacturing process and allows for the upcoming consolidation.

Pro Refrigeration  was co-founded by VanderGiessen and his Father Jim Sr. in 1990. In addition to being industry leaders to the craft beverage and dairy markets, Pro designs and manufactures chiller systems for numerous industries with a complete product offering from ¾ to 300 HP serving applications that require chilled fluid from –45 F to +45 F. Pro has a network of regional salespeople serving in each corner of the United States.

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