Draper cuts ribbon on 100,000 sq. ft. addition

SPICELAND — Draper, Inc., officially unveiled Building 10 at its manufacturing campus in Spiceland on Tuesday with a ribbon-cutting ceremony featuring company leadership.

The 100,000 square foot building brings the amount of total space to 500,000 square feet. In a nod to the expanded space, guests were treated with “100 Grand” candy bars before the ribbon cutting.

Local delegates gathered under the canopy of the new building to celebrate with Draper President Chris Broome, Chairman of the Board John Pidgeon and Vice President of Manufacturing Mike Broome.

Chris Broome is the fifth generation of the family to serve as Draper president during its 121-year history. This new structure is the 10th building on the Spiceland campus, but Tuesday was the first time Draper has hosted a ribbon cutting event.

“Today is an exciting day for me and my family. To be able to do this is something that’s really special,” President Broome said. “This building will add seven much-needed loading docks, and also storage and production space. It will enable us to add a third powder coating line.”

Broome thanked the Henry County community for supporting Draper Inc. as the company has continued to grow. The land Building 10 sits on, for example, was purchased from Rob Davis, owner of neighboring business Spiceland Wood Products.

Besides being a neighbor, Spiceland Wood Products is also a Draper supplier, providing all the wood materials in Draper’s product line.

Broome said Draper also got help from the New Castle-Henry County Economic Development Corp. (EDC) and the Henry County Council in the construction of Building 10.

“But more important than our buildings are our people,” he said. “We are proud that in our 121-year history, Draper has laid off zero employees. Draper currently has 723 employees, with a total of 7,680 years of service. 167 of our employees have passed the 20-year milestone. Twelve have been here for more than 40 years.”

After his opening comments, President Broome invited Henry County elected officials, business partners and local economic developers to be a part of the ribbon cutting ceremony.

He cut the three ribbons with a pair of fabric shears from the original Draper production line.

Building 10 was 100,000 sq. ft. of empty concrete Tuesday. It will not be empty for long.

“Really excited to have it, as it gives us room to expand and continue to grow,” President Broome said. “Building ‘Building 10’ will allow us to reconfigure our campus, too, so we can add a new automated paint line, which is something we’re very excited about. It will help us quite a bit with capacity and also with product quality.”

Broome expects equipment and materials from Building 8 will start moving into the new building right after Thanksgiving.

The back of Building 10 will be mostly component storage and the new truck docks will be for receiving material. Projection screen manufacturing will be set up on the east side of the building.

After the move, Draper’s new powder coating line will be installed in Building 8. Draper will use the line to paint aluminum extrusions without depending on outside vendors.

“Being able to paint it in house means we don’t have to stock so much inventory of all the different colors,” Broome said. “We’re also doing a lot more exterior shading type of work, and that new paint line will allow us to have all of the certifications that we need in to be able to paint it ourselves here.”

After the ribbon cutting ceremony, Director of Engineering Harold Seib led a tour of Draper’s manufacturing facilities.

“We’re awful excited about it,” Seib said of the new building and the upcoming changes.

Founded in 1902 as a manufacturer of window shades for schools, Draper now makes motorized shading systems for the commercial and residential markets; AV projection screens and lifts; custom AV mounts and structures; and custom solar control solutions.

The Spiceland plant manufactures 3,000 shades per day. It also produces audio/visual screens and custom A/V solutions. One new project is making the LED rack walls for Universal Studios.

Draper is also the largest architectural gym equipment manufacturer in North America. The company makes gym pads, volleyball netting and basketball goals and backboards, including those in the Henry County YMCA.

VP of Manufacturing Mike Broome said Draper Inc. has spent the last 20 years focusing on efficiency and cutting waste, whether that is wasted time or wasted movement. He said Building 10 is the next step towards that greater level of efficiency.

The new building was added after several years of steady growth, and with the expectation of even more growth with the company’s entry as a major player in the residential shading market.

“We see a lot of good growth opportunities, and this building is going to allow us to continue to take care of and meet the needs of our customers,” said Chris Broome. “Also, from a supply standpoint, we’ll be able to keep a better inventory of fabrics and other components, which will allow us to be more responsive to our customers’ needs.”

President Broome expects the opening of Building 10 will create 25-30 new jobs in the short term.

– Story by Travis Weik (Editor@TheCourierTimes.comof The Courier-Times. Read more local stories at TheCourierTimes.com.

Draper President Chris Broome, holding the shears, cuts the ribbons on Building 10. To President Broome’s left are Chairman of the Board John Pidgeon and VP of Manufacturing Mike Broome. Travis Weik/ C-T photos
Guests gathered inside Building 10 following the ribbon cutting ceremony. Equipment and materials will start moving in after Thanksgiving. Travis Weik/C-T photos
Building 10 adds 100,000 square feet to the Draper Campus, giving the company 500,000 sq. ft. under roof. Provided by Draper Inc.