Residents of Buncombe County and company investors braved the cold and wind Thursday, Dec. 15, for a sneak peek at the new Avadim Technologies facility in Swannanoa, just behind the Ingles shopping center complex on U.S. Highway 70. Company representatives were on hand to offer tours of the 150,000-square-foot manufacturing warehouse, the first of two new facilities for the Asheville-based company, which has been recognized by Inc. Magazine as “one of the 500 fastest-growing private U.S. companies in 2016.”
The Swannanoa facility will begin open operations on Jan. 15, 2017, bringing 100 new jobs to the area. In addition, Avadim (which means “servant” in Hebrew) is working on a new building in Black Mountain, which will serve as its corporate headquarters and add additional manufacturing capacity for the company, according to Avadim President David Fann, who took Xpress on a tour of the new warehouse, where a variety of products will be produced and shipped to hospitals, healthcare facilities and individuals across the world.
Construction delays have pushed the facility 45 days out from their original opening date, Fann says as we walk across the wide warehouse floor towards stacks of materials ready to be processed. “We need 1.5 million gallons of water for $170 million dollars worth of product. All they had in here was a 3/4-inch line, so we had to put two 2-inch lines in.”
The warehouse, which sat vacant for eight years prior to Avadim’s purchase, was needed to expand the company’s production and storage capacities. “We have another facility going in Black Mountain, which will be our corporate headquarters and have some manufacturing lines,” Fann says, “but [that] won’t be ready until 2018. We were able to really get a good deal on this building. We thought that 150,000 square feet was going to be big enough, but we need both [facilities], which is a great problem to have.”
Starting out, Avadim will use about half of the Swannanoa facility for operations. “Eventually, we’ll be in the whole facility, but currently, it’s just this 75,000 square feet,” Fann explains. Even at half capacity, Avadim will have the ability churn out $170 million a year worth of product on one shift. “We do four ten-hour days,” he notes. “Eventually, when we take the other side and have three shifts going, we can do over a billion dollars a year here.”
And what kinds of products will be coming through production lines? “We produce mostly infection prevention products for hospitals,” says Fann. “What that means is you went to the hospital and got an infection you didn’t go in there with and you die — we try to prevent that.”
Begun in 2008, Avadim’s Theraworx brand products are used in over 250 hospitals today, including Mission Health in Asheville, he reports, as well as 200-plus long-term care facilities. These products include medicated cloths that supplement and support the health of the bionome, the skin’s natural ecosystem. The cloths allow patients in intensive care units or those unable to leave their beds to bathe themselves and “kill all the bad bugs on you, so you don’t get an infection,” Fann says.
Four production lines within the facility’s “clean room” will make two- and eight-cloth packages. In addition, three additional production lines will produce the company’s line of bottled products, which Fann says can be used to treat cuts, burns, muscle soreness, abrasions and any other skin integrity issues. “This is an automated bottling line with 12 heads, so we can make 47,000 bottles of product a day,” he says, adding that other assembly lines will be brought over from the company’s current Thompson Street location in Asheville prior to the Jan. 15 opening.
In addition, the facility will also produce Avadim’s “CombatOne” product package, developed for use by the Department of Defense and the Army. “It’s a care package that a loved one who has a family member in the service can order, and we ship it to them anywhere in the world,” Fann explains. “It helps keep them safe while they’re out — they don’t get baths out there every day.”
While operations won’t begin in earnest until next month, rows upon rows of finished products already await distribution within the warehouse. “We currently have $3.8 million of finished goods here,” Fann notes. “When we’re fully operational, we’ll have about $12 million worth of finished product here at any time. We’ll just continue to make it and send it out.”
Fann says that the decision to expand its Asheville operation locally was a no-brainer for the company. “The CEO, Steve Woody, is from Asheville, and we got a huge investor following from the community, so it’s our goal to create all these jobs here,” he says. “That’s why the state, city and county are helping us build the new building out in Black Mountain, to create more jobs here, and higher-paying ones too.”
The Swannanoa facility will require 100 new employees by Jan. 15, in addition to the 450 jobs being added when the Black Mountain Facility opens. Fann advises those interested in applying for a position to contact Avadim’s Human Resources Department at 877-677-2723 or to visit avadimtechnologies.com/avadim-careers/.