Members of the New Braunfels Economic Development Corporation Board on Wednesday approved a project incentive package of up to $1.5 million to a New Braunfels-based manufacturer known internationally for producing safety products, such as door hardware, exit control locks and access control systems, that would increase its local workforce to 150 employees.
Detex Corporation, which operates about 57,000 square feet in two facilities in New Braunfels and maintains an affiliated operation in Bastrop, is looking to consolidate its operations in the two cities into a single facility that would also accommodate the company’s anticipated growth.
The company, which has operated for more than 40 years in New Braunfels, boasts 95 employees locally and about 120 in its total workforce.
Consolidation of all three facilities necessitates the construction of a 103,000-square foot facility requiring a capital investment of about $16 million, providing additional manufacturing, warehouse, laboratory and administrative space as well as a renovation of existing facilities.
Company officials anticipate the completion of the new facility in 2024. Under the agreement, the company can expand employment in its current facility before construction and renovations are completed.
The company would add positions in all production, assembly, machining, shipping/receiving, customer service, engineering, marketing, sales, accounting, information technology and logistics.
“We are expanding, we are hiring, and business has been good,” said Ken Kuehler, the company’s president and chief operating officer. “We sell into education, health care, retail and security is important for all of those verticals.”
More than half of its current employees live in New Braunfels, with another fifth located in Seguin.
The company pays above the county average in many of its occupational sets and provides fringe benefits to its full-time employees, including quarterly profit sharing and retirement plan contribution matches.
The proposed incentive agreement would provide up to $500,000 reimbursed to the company after paying to the city or New Braunfels Utilities for relevant platting, permitting, building, roadway impact, water and wastewater impact fees assessed because of the expansion and construction project, and up to $500,000 for the retention of 90 employees over three years.
The agreement would also provide $500,000 to the company if the weighted average compensation of all employees — wages including bonuses and commissions — exceeds $36,000 at the end of the first year, $45,000 at the end of the second year and $46,500 at the end of the third year.
If constructed, the project has a net fiscal impact to the city and NBEDC of about $1.7 million over 10 years. The rate of return of the proposed incentive is 11.4%, with a payback period of under nine years.
In addition to the full-time positions, the spinoff effects of the expansion project are anticipated to support another 114 positions in and around the community with the additional company and employee spending, bringing the total job impacts to over 250 direct and indirect jobs from the project.
Detex has its origins in a predecessor company established in 1878 by Abraham A. Newman to manufacture and sell stationary watchclocks.
Detex remained principally a manufacturer and distributor of Watchman’s Clock Systems until 1963, when it first introduced a new line of security hardware products designed primarily for use in the control of exits and entries in industrial, commercial, institutional and educational buildings.
In 1980, the company broke ground on a 50,000-square-foot building in New Braunfels. Operations began at the completed facility in 1981.
The expenditure item now goes to the City Council for approval over two readings.