An unlooked-for bright spot to the pandemic is growth in some sectors, like home improvement projects, leading to an expansion of a local industry, according to Ekena Millwork out of Clarksville.
“We have seen demand surge by over 70% because most people were required to stay at home for weeks or months this year, and during those times, many home improvement projects were tackled,” company spokeswoman Nikki Dodson said. “We’ve also seen a shift in buying behavior with more people purchasing DIY products online than ever before. We expect this habit to stick and thus expect demand for DIY products purchased online to continue in this direction.”
The growth has caused the company to expand their operations in Red River County and even push into Lamar County, she said, with more than 100 jobs brought to the area.
“We are drawn to this region due to the success we have had developing people and a culture of work ethic,” said Brian Thompson, director for Elkena’s Clarksville hub. Ekena plans to continue to grow in the area, he said, “helping to diversify the local economy and create more opportunity for its residents.”
The Clarksville hub, which opened 12 years ago, currently employs 171 workers and seeks to add 10 more full-time workers and 10 part-time workers before the end of the year.
“We are actively looking to expand into surrounding areas, including Paris, which will be first quarter of 2021, with 15 to 25 full-time positions,” Dodson said.
The company is also an expanding manufacturing hub in Annona and a new hub in Mount Vernon. The company is a subsidiary of PCI industries, and is considering a partnership with area educators.
“We are not currently partnering with (Paris Junior College) but would be very interested in a partnership,” Dodson said. “We just completed the fourth year of our Summer Internship Program in Clarksville. This year, 26 young men and women from surrounding local high schools participated in our Summer Internship Program … providing them with real-life and business skills that will prepare them for when they graduate. We’ve had over 150 applicants for our internship and have been able to bring on 75 interns in these four years.
“Many have returned subsequent summers or even earned a full-time permanent position upon completion of their summer internship. It seems like the next step would absolutely be to partner with Paris Junior College.”
To see openings and apply, text 99764 to 844-311-6432 or visit pci.easyapply.co.