Right off the tracks of the Santa Fe Depot, manufacturing found its origins in Temple, Texas in 1927. Businessman A.P. Brashear Sr.’s school furniture company, American Desk, started out with only 15 employees. By the 1950’s the manufacturing business had grown to a 150,000 square-foot-building with $7 million in sales from around the globe.
Since then, more than 130 manufacturing companies have found their way to Temple, including Wilson Art, Artcobell and East Penn Manufacturing. The city continues to shine as a hotbed for manufacturing thanks to the quality of its logistics and infrastructure, low costs, skilled talent and room for expansion — including 1,600 acres of shovel-ready land. Employment in the industry continues to grow in Temple, with a 28.4% increase between 2010-2020.
How manufacturing in Temple has evolved over time
After American Desk’s business began to increase, so too did the company’s need for a high-quality laminate supplier. Shortly thereafter, Wilsonart set up shop in Temple. The business has been a leader in engineered surfaces for home, office and retail furniture since 1956, and currently employs over 1,000 people in Central Texas.
Temple has seen all kinds of manufacturing throughout the years, but classroom furniture has been a mainstay. Artcobell began in the city in 1965, tapping into local suppliers to offer just-in-time products at their vertically integrated manufacturing facility. The business has since grown to more than 250 employees. In the 1980s, MooreCo Inc. started out making printer stands to fill the growing market need and has been manufacturing innovative furniture solutions ever since.
Apart from furniture, Temple is home to a host of metal fabrication companies, food and drink businesses and battery makers. In 1970, Hefty Brand — manufacturer of waste bags and food storage containers — opened its factory in Temple. The company merged with Reynolds Consumer Products in 2010, and in 2018 the company invested $3.2 million to upgrade its plastic film production line.
Manufacturing companies that are newer to the Temple community have seen growth, too. Pennsylvania-headquartered battery manufacturer, East Penn Manufacturing, announced their move to the city in 2018. In 2022, they celebrated the grand opening of their 393,000-square-foot facility. The project, a $106 million capital investment, will add nearly 260 jobs to the region. Niagara Bottling. The world’s largest family-owned and operated beverage supplier also looked to Central Texas for its next phase of growth. In 2019, the company announced plans for a new, 450,000-square-foot facility in Temple.
Manufacturing talent finds opportunity in Temple
Manufacturers in Temple continue to grow, and thanks to the region’s widening pool of available talent, the community is well prepared to support them. Local universities, colleges, continuing education programs and Career and Technical Education (CTE) opportunities are helping shape Temple’s future workforce, and STEM-focused training programs like Texas State Technical College’s Precision Machining Technology program and Temple ISD’s career certification programs add to the pipeline of skilled workers.
Annually, Temple Manufacturing Week offers both existing and future generations of talent an opportunity to explore potential career pathways with manufacturing companies in the region. Taking place the first week of October, the Temple Chamber of Commerce and Temple EDC kicked off the 2022 event with a gathering of local manufacturers and leaders in the community. Following an official proclamation from City of Temple Mayor Tim Davis, area leaders were treated to facility tours of Reynolds Consumer Products and Palladio, where they had the chance to meet with current employees and learn more about the products being made in Temple.
Subsequent Temple Manufacturing Week events included Temple ISD Days, where area students received tours of local manufacturing facilities, and the official Manufacturing Day celebration, which included a job fair hosted in partnership between Meet Temple, the Temple Chamber and Workforce Solutions. Approximately 100 job seekers were able to meet with 10 manufacturing employers, enjoy free treats from the Kona Ice Truck and listen to a concert in the Santa Fe Plaza
With operating costs 15% lower than the national average, and more than 6,500 industry-ready employees, manufacturing companies in Temple, TX have fertile grounds for success. Read more about the region’s manufacturing industry and contact us to learn why Central Texas is the ideal location for your growing business.