CalStar Expands Capacity, Options for Sustainable Masonry With Opening of Second Plant

Columbus, Miss., facility expands the sustainable masonry manufacturer’s capacity and product options.

CalStar Products, manufacturer of low-energy, low-carbon masonry products, has rolled out the first shipments from its new Columbus, Miss., plant. The new facility increases CalStar’s capacity and product offerings while improving its geographic range.

The 100,000-square-foot facility, CalStar’s second, sits on 23 acres in the Golden Triangle Industrial Park in Columbus, located in east-central Mississippi near the Alabama border. CalStar anticipates a staff of 58 by the time the plant reaches full capacity within three years.

“We’re excited to welcome CalStar Products to Columbus,” said Joe Max Higgins, CEO of the Golden Triangle Development LINK, the region’s economic development organization. “CalStar will bring nearly 60 jobs to the area, and we have the skilled workforce to fulfill those needs. We look forward to continued success for both the company and the community.”

CalStar is running two lines at the plant, each utilizing the company’s sustainable manufacturing process. The dry-cast line manufactures all of CalStar’s brick and Thru-Wall units, as well as Holland pavers; the semi-automated wet cast line produces cast stone trim and accent pieces.

Along with manufacturing most of the shapes available from CalStar’s existing Racine, Wis., facility, the new plant’s state-of-the-art equipment provides for an abundance of new products. New options include an Ambassador brick, a Roman brick, a Norman brick, a King brick, and 4”x8”x16” and 4”x4”x24” facing units in both standard and split-face textures. Regional raw materials also will allow for several lighter color options along with all of CalStar’s existing colors and ranges.

The principal advantage the plant provides is proximity to areas where brick and masonry dominate residential and commercial facades, the company says. “Columbus provides easy access to the entire Gulf Coast region, from Texas to the Florida panhandle, enabling us to meet demand within a smaller delivery radius — and therefore in less time and with reduced freight costs,” said Michael Telischak, vice president of manufacturing for CalStar.

CalStar masonry products incorporate up to 37-percent recycled content, eliminating the need for kiln-firing, typical of traditional clay brick, or the use of Portland cement, used to bind concrete masonry products. As a result, each product requires up to 81 percent less energy to make while emitting up to 84 percent less CO2. This reduced environmental footprint comes with no sacrifice to aesthetics or performance, CalStar says, and the raw material and energy savings equate to more affordable per-unit costs.

“With capabilities to reduce buildings’ carbon footprint and save costs, CalStar Products is changing the way architects look at the façade,” said CEO Joel Rood. “The additional capacity, new products, and geographic advantages made possible by our Columbus location set the stage for continued expansion of CalStar’s influence.”