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Coastal Forest Products to spend $7.2M for equipment improvement

Coastal Forest Products announced this week it will invest $7.2 million in an equipment expansion that will keep the company viable in the economy for years to come.

David Hutchison, executive director of the Butler County Economic Development Commission, said that the new expansion was equipment only; however, it would make the company’s log handling equipment more efficient and it would also update some outdated equipment.

The company employees 340 people internally with 300 more jobs externally, which the wood products industry the second largest industry sector in Butler County, only behind the automotive industry.

Hutchison said the upgrades will make Coastal Forest Products 50 percent more efficient in their production of plywood.

“Technology is key to staying competitive these days,” he said. “They are taking advantage in the upswing of the housing market. It’s all good timing.”

Coastal Forest Products has been in Chapman since 2009 and Hutchison said the company has invested $40-$50 million since 2013.

Coastal Forest Products, a subsidiary of Coastal Forest Resources Company, acquired the Chapman plant in 2009 and started operations in January 2010.

Georgiana Mayor Jerome Antone  said that while the expansion isn’t creating new jobs, it’s creating job security for the many residents of Georgiana who work there.

“It’s a good thing,” he said. “And we are pleased that it is happening.”