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POYNETTE -- With a $10 million expansion, Research Products Corp. expects to create more than 100 new jobs in five years at its Aprilaire manufacturing facility in Poynette. 

That’s a lot to process for Village Administrator Martin Shanks.

“We were just asking ourselves on our way here, ‘When was the last time we went to an industrial or manufacturing groundbreaking in Poynette?’” he said. “We think it’s probably been decades.”

It’s almost hard to believe, he said, because it all happened so quickly.

“This is a huge expansion and a very complex project, and yet we were able to review it and get it approved in one meeting,” Shanks said of the site plan approval in January. “It speaks to how very efficient we work with this business and how well they communicated their plans to us.”

The company's 190,000-square-foot Aprilaire facility broke ground Monday for an expansion that adds 100,000 square feet of space for storage and manufacturing.

The construction, led by Findorff out of Madison, begins in the next two weeks and should be completed in February.

Aprilaire in Poynette makes 1,100 unique indoor air quality products and employs 175 people. Its expansion is expected to add 20 jobs or more per year through 2024, according to Jeff Schmoeger, Aprilaire’s vice president of manufacturing.

Currently it ships more than 5 million boxes of products per year.

“We’re still finding out that a lot of people -- even Poynette residents -- still don’t know that this manufacturing facility is here,” Schmoeger said at the groundbreaking Monday. “But that’s changing.”

Public awareness of the company is more important now than ever, Schmoeger said, since it will need to add workers. The company has experienced between 10% and 20% annual sales growth over the past five years and that might accelerate due to the expansion.

Early on, most of the new jobs will be in distribution, since the company will be able to store all of its products in Poynette. Right now, Aprilaire only can store about a third of its product on site and every day it moves roughly two-thirds of the product to and from Deerfield for storage and distribution.

Schmoeger expects the majority of the new jobs will be in manufacturing eventually, as the expansion frees up 40,000 square feet of space for assembly.

“We don’t make the furnace, but anything else that would go on your HVAC system, whether the humidifier, dehumidifier or fresh-air ventilator, we make that suite of products," Schmoeger said of Aprilaire products. “We want to make the air you breathe in your home healthier.”

Research Products Corp., founded in Madison in 1938, opened the manufacturing facility in Poynette in 1960, Aprilaire General Manager Bill Priske said. On path to its expansion, Aprilaire had experienced 20% sales growth over the last two years alone.

“We had already been expanding our workforce recently, and that’s exciting for us and Poynette,” Priske said. “Last year we took production staff from 108 to 128 by the end of year, and we added a couple general staff positions too.”

Poynette Village President Diana Kachinske said the expansion project is part of an exciting time for Poynette residents, especially as Poynette School District prepares to break ground Wednesday on its new elementary school for grades K-4. That project is part of a $28.4 million construction referendum that voters approved in November.

“To have two groundbreakings in a week is very special for Poynette,” Kachinske said. “We couldn’t be happier for this company, and we’re so proud to be part of it.

"It’s been a long time since something like this has happened in our community.”

Follow Noah Vernau on Twitter @NoahVernau or contact him at 608-695-4956.

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