By Joel Washburn
McKENZIE (November 22) — Members of the Rotary Club of McKenzie toured Pottery Direct, one of McKenzie’s newest manufacturers on Tuesday, November 22. The company is located in the North McKenzie Industrial Park (Airport Park).
Henk van Woerden, president, said Pottery Direct located in McKenzie because of nearby Spinks Clay Company and the excellent supply of natural gas from West Tennessee Public Utilities. The company, based in the Netherlands, was started in 1964 by Woreden’s father. He and brother, Hugo now operate the company. Pottery Direct has a long history with ball clay supplier, Spinks, who mines ball clay from area mines. The area’s ball clay is some of the best in the world and Woreden thinks other manufacturers that use ball clay will soon locate in the area once Pottery Direct proves successful operating here. West Tennessee Public Utilities has connected to two major pipelines that provide redundancy.
Woerden said he started working with Frank Tate, former executive director of the McKenzie Industrial Board, about locating in McKenzie. The company originally looked to expand in the former Nestaway building, but because of some complications, decided instead to construct a new building across from Nestaway. (VP Racing Fuels will soon located in the vacant Nestaway building).
Pottery Direct purchased the land from McKenzie Industrial Board and contracted with a construction management company to construct the building.
The company manufactures clay flowerpots in a variety of shapes and colors. The company’s major buyers are flower farms, greenhouses, and other agribusinesses.
The manufacturing process is also environmentally friendly. Water used for manufacturing is recycled and ninety percent of waste is recycled. The company also has manufacturing operations in Canada.
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