CalStar begins production at two-line, Mississippi masonry plant

Sources: CalStar Products, Caledonia, Wis.; CP staff

CalStar Products has begun delivering building and landscape units from a 100,000-sq.-ft., Columbus, Miss., operation—an ambitious satellite to a Racine, Wis., flagship plant opened in 2010. With dry- and wet-cast lines for brick, trim and paver products using proprietary binders and high fly ash content, the facility sits on 23 acres in the Golden Triangle Industrial Park.

CalStar’s second plant is strategic to the country’s largest masonry market. Located in east-central Mississippi, near the Alabama border, “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,” says CalStar Vice President of Manufacturing Michael Telischak.

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

The plant has launched with a payroll of 17; management anticipates a staff upwards of 60 by the time the plant reaches full capacity within three years. The dry-cast line produces all of the company’s brick and Thru-Wall units, as well as Holland pavers; the semi-automated wet cast line handles cast stone trim and accent pieces. Along with molding most of the shapes available from the Wisconsin line, the new plant’s advanced equipment provides for an abundance of new product options, among them: Ambassador, Roman, Norman and King-style brick, plus 8- x 16-in. and 4- x 24-in. facing units in standard and split-face textures. Regional raw materials will allow for lighter color options along with all of the producer’s existing colors and ranges.