PAWTUCKET – Colonial Mills Inc., a manufacturer of braided rugs and accessories for more than 40 years, is leaving its location in Pawtucket for its own building in neighboring East Providence.
The company will relocate from leased mill space to the vacant FRAM Corp. factory at 105R Pawtucket Ave., said CEO and President, Don Scarlata.
The property is under contract.
Construction activity at the 72,000-square-foot building is expected to begin next month, he said. Once renovations are completed, the manufacturer will move in phases, to reduce impact on production. The relocation should be completed by the end of May.
Initially, Scarlata said he had hoped to stay in Pawtucket but was unable to find suitable industrial space for his growing business. The company employs 92 people and was founded 41 years ago. Once relocated, Scarlata said the new facility should allow the company to expand its workforce up to 115 people.
Once primarily known for traditional, braided oval room rugs, Colonial Mills has refreshed its designs and expanded into new offerings, including storage baskets and accessory rugs, Scarlata said. “We’ve taken the old-style braided rug and brought it into today,” he said.
The company primarily sells its products through online retailers, including Wayfair.
His relocation was initiated about five years ago, when the property owner in Pawtucket gave him ample notice that he’d like to break up the Colonial Mills space into smaller, live-work units. Over the next several years, Scarlata said, he viewed various facilities in Pawtucket, hoping to remain in the city because his employees are based there.
He wanted a production facility located in a building, ideally, over one floor. The company currently occupies three stories in Pawtucket.
“I just wasn’t successful at finding something in Pawtucket. So, we widened the circle,” Scarlata said.
In East Providence, the former FRAM building is a two-story building and manufacturing space that was vacated about a decade ago. FRAM, which was founded in 1938, was a manufacturer of replaceable oil and air filters. It is now headquartered in Illinois.
RGB Architects, of Providence, is the architecture firm who will work with the company on its new headquarters. The companies are partnering with general contractor Bowerman Associates, also of Providence.
Through the city of East Providence, the relocation has qualified for a tax stabilization agreement that will phase in taxes on the real estate improvements over a three-year span, the CEO said.
Mary MacDonald is a staff writer for the PBN. Contact her at firstname.lastname@example.org.