Manufacturing is alive and well in Stoney Creek
Superior Radiant Products celebrated the official opening of its new corporate office and plant last Wednesday at 563 Barton St., on the former Levi Strauss sewing plant site.
The company makes gas-fired infrared heaters for commercial, industrial, recreational and residential applications worldwide.
“We moved in here in late spring, but we’ve been working diligently to get the lean manufacturing worked in and a number of products set up,” president Kevin Merritt said. “Growth was a big part of the reason to build this new facility.”
Superior Radiant Products opened in 1995 at 428 Millen Rd. in a strip mall kitty-corner to the Canada Post office.
Merritt said the company started with one unit.
“As we grew and as people moved out, we took over more space and eventually we had this long, skinny, higgledy-piggledy factory in the back, so we needed somewhere that was a little more efficient,” he said, adding the new plant is 50,000 square feet and employs about 45 people. “When we looked at moving, we looked all over the place and decided to stay right here in Stoney Creek.”
Superior Radiant Products produces high-efficiency infrared heating systems for bars, restaurants, factories, warehouses, hockey rinks and garages – to name a few.
In addition to its manufacturing plant in Stoney Creek, the company has operations in the United States and China.
Superior Radiant Products exports products across North America, China and Europe.
Merritt said part of the opening of the new plant includes onshoring of a highly sought-after product.
“The product is patio heaters, like for bars and restaurants,” he said. “We produce a very high-end version of that product. We were originally manufacturing it in China, but we’ve now brought that product back to North America and we’re going to manufacture it right here in Stoney Creek.”
Merritt said because of the nature of the business, the company will be looking to hire more people.
“It’s a seasonal business for us, so as we get closer to winter, we’ll definitely be hiring more people for the plant,” he said. “Every year, we hire seasonal and it becomes a permanent job for some – we’re kind of organically growing that way. We expect to be employing quite a number of people over the next year.”
Merritt said Superior Radiant Products has enjoyed a successful run so far.
“For every year we’ve been in business, we’ve been profitable,” he said. “Last year, we grew about 20 per cent. We’re expecting at least 10/15 per cent growth again this year.”
Merritt said Stoney Creek is a “great place” to do business for many reasons.
“For us, it’s a perfect position to service the Canadian and U.S. market, as we’re right on the main highways and can get down to the U.S. within 45 minutes,” he said. “We’ve got great areas that bring international business, as we’re situated between Niagara Falls and Toronto, so from that standpoint it’s an attractive place. There’s also an availability of the skilled workforce that we’re looking for – the location is perfect and we look forward to being here for the future.”
The company, which makes gas-fired infrared heaters for commercial, industrial, recreational and residential applications worldwide, first opened in 1995 at 428 Millen Rd. It expanded to a new location due to growth in export markets and onshoring of manufacturing of the patio heater for the North American sector.
Photo by Laura Lennie