Latham Group Inc., one of the world’s largest manufacturers of fibreglass pools, is expanding its Canadian operations by building a state-of-the-art pool manufacturing plant in Loyalist Township just outside of Kingston and will be hiring up to 200 people over the next several months.
“This will be the largest fibreglass manufacturing facility for Latham and largest ever investment made by Latham in its 66-year history,” said Sanjay Jain, Latham’s fibreglass operations director in Canada. The company is based in Latham, N.Y.
According to Jain, the inground pool market is undergoing a “material conversion” as consumers learn that fibreglass pools are better made, cheaper in the long run, easier to maintain and more environmentally friendly.
“Fibreglass pools need less chemicals to maintain the quality of water in the pool on an ongoing basis. Because of the smooth, non-porous finish of fibreglass construction, you don’t need as much chlorine,” said Jain.
Latham has more than 30 manufacturing plants around the world making fibreglass and in-ground vinyl liner residential pools and components, including automatic pool covers and solid and mesh safety covers. The company already has two plants in Canada outside Toronto that manufacture packaged pools, vinyl pool liners and pool covers.
The publicly traded company, worth US$668 million as of September 2022, has been looking to improve its capacity to serve the Canadian and northeastern U.S. markets for some time. In 2021, the company chose Loyalist Township because of its location between Toronto, Montreal and Ottawa and its easy access to markets in eastern Canada as well as the northeast and upper-midwest of the U.S.
“We welcome Latham, it’s a major employer for us, we hadn’t welcomed an employer of that size in years and since then we’ve used what we learned from our experience with Latham to sell the township to other interested investors,” said Steven Silver, chief administrative officer with the township.
Situated on 148 acres of industrial land off Taylor Kidd Boulevard, the 160,000-square-foot facility will be fully automated with a program logic controller (PLC) system to improve material handling and safety.
“PLCs are very common in a petrochemical industry, not as common in the fibreglass manufacturing industry. We’re bringing some really new concepts of material handling and material delivery to the user,” said Jain.
The acreage will be used to store pool moulds, finished pools and raw materials, as well as dust collection units.
Shovels went into the ground earlier this year and the plant is well on its way to completion, with plans to start production at the new facility in the spring of 2023.
“We’ve already hired close to 35 to 40 people in production and supply chain leadership roles that are going to help with the facility, so production managers, supervisors, office managers and shipping managers,” said Jain, adding that the plan is to hire up to 200 employees as production reaches capacity. Most of the new hires will come from within a 30- to 40-km radius of Kingston.
Latham, which acquired Australian Narellan Pools in 2019, plans to manufacture more than 100 Latham and Narellan pool models at the new facility.
Never miss a story. Get OBJ's daily update in your inbox every Monday to Friday. Click here to subscribe.