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April 29, 2024

Rodgers Wade Closes On $12 Million Of New Markets Tax Credit Financing From CEI Capital Management LLC To Expand Manufacturing Operations

Family-owned millworks supports new jobs in Paris, Texas

For Immediate Release: April 29, 2024

(PARIS, TX and BRUNSWICK, ME – April 29, 2024) – CEI Capital Management LLC (CCML) has closed $12 million in New Markets Tax Credit (NMTC) capacity for Rodgers Wade Manufacturing Company, Inc. to purchase assets from another business, invest in new equipment, and provide working capital to sustain a 70 percent increase of the company’s workforce.

Located in Paris, Texas, Rodgers Wade Manufacturing Company, Inc. is one of Texas’ oldest continuously operating businesses. This family-owned and operated company has survived a Civil War, the third-largest community fire in the nation’s history, two world wars, ownership changes, and countless economic cycles. Today, the company manufactures customized  fixtures and displays for a diverse range of public environments such as national retailers, hotels, day cares, hospitals, and more.

“This is a growing manufacturing company with a long history and exciting future. We not only work alongside Rodgers Wade employees, but we are also neighbors and classmates. The people we work with are part of the fabric of our community working together to better our local economy for today and for the future,” said John Hamer, Rodgers Wade President.

In 2023, Rodgers Wade had the opportunity to purchase equipment and business assets of another Texas-based retail fixtures manufacturer. Flexible financing provided by CEI Capital Management through the New Markets Tax Credit program gave Rodgers Wade the funds required to purchase the assets, invest in new equipment, and provide working capital to sustain a 70% increase of the company’s workforce.

In addition to purchasing assets, Rodgers Wade hired 30 of the shuttered plant’s former employees, boosting their payroll from 57 to 87 full time workers, with an additional 10 new hires projected. The company provides significant relocation support for the employees making the 115 mile move to Paris, paying transportation and lodging for exploratory visits to the town, providing “day in the life” experiences at the plant, giving a $2,000 relocation stipend and providing short-term housing at no cost to the employee.

The quality jobs at Rodgers Wade are worth moving for. All full-time positions are eligible for benefits, including health insurance, a retirement plan, and company-sponsored family wellness programs. The average starting wage for new positions is $21.79 (20% higher than the MIT Living Wage for a single adult in Lamar County), and the company indicates that 100% of the new jobs are accessible to people with a high school diploma or less. Voluntary overtime is available, plus employees also have an opportunity for an annual performance-based merit increase and the company allocates three percent of wages for their merit pool, with some employees earning upwards of seven percent. The company plans to make additional expansions to their workforce in the coming years as they ramp up production.

The manufacturer also allocates $5,000 per employee annually for skills training and professional development with local providers and schools that may lead to a promotion or wage increase. All of Rodgers Wade’s current supervisors have been promoted from individual contributor roles – a testament to the company’s investment in its people.

Rodgers Wade has a strong human resources department that has leveraged the Texas Workforce Commission’s capabilities to recruit candidates for new positions. Relative to Paris, Texas demographics, Rodgers Wade hires a higher proportion of minorities: 42% of Paris residents identify as a minority compared to 44% of Rodgers Wade employees.

“They meet the sector and target industry we’re looking to recruit. They meet the average wage requirement. The benefits they’re offering, their culture, all align with the type of project we’re trying to support,” said Maureen Hammond, Executive Director, Paris Economic Development Corporation

CCML CEO Traci Vaine added, “The efforts made by the Rodgers Wade team to hire employees from the closed manufacturer was commendable. Their commitment to creating quality jobs for all Rodgers Wade employees strongly aligns with our mission.”

Dudley Ventures/Valley Bank provided the NMTC equity. Hope Community Capital served as the investment consultant to CCML and HWH Community Development Group served as investment consultant to Rodgers Wade..

About CEI Capital Management

CEI Capital Management LLC works nationally to connect new and existing rural manufacturing companies with flexible capital through the federal New Markets Tax Credit and Maine New Markets Capital Investment Tax Credit programs. CEI Capital Management invests in companies committed to building accessible good jobs that provide living wages, comprehensive benefits and opportunities for training and advancement in alignment with CEI’s Good Jobs Framework. Since 2004, CEI Capital Management has placed over $1.02 billion in 101 different projects across the U.S.

CCML is a wholly owned subsidiary of Coastal Enterprises, Inc. (CEI), a Maine-based nonprofit community development financial institution.

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