Company News

Steelite to Expand in Youngstown, New Castle

NESHANNOCK Township, Pa. – On the heels of an expansion at its New Castle warehouse, Steelite International USA will open a “signature showroom” in downtown Youngstown in the coming months.

Owner and CEO John Miles said Friday the tableware company, whose United States headquarters is in Lawrence County’s Millennium Park here, will be moving into “a historic, significant space downtown. It’s a little premature for me to say [where.]”

He continued, “We have customers coming from all over the world to view products and select products. With the new hotel going in downtown, we think it’s going to be a really nice combination.”

Steelite also has showrooms in Atlanta, Chicago, Cincinnati, Las Vegas, New York and Washington, D.C. The privately owned company does not disclose annual sales or employment numbers.

Worldwide, Steelite either owns or has a joint venture in 70 factories, manufacturing about 40 brands of tableware for the hospitality industry. Products destined for customers of large chains such as Panera Bread and Michelin-starred restaurants in North and South America are shipped to New Castle and distributed from there.

As for the New Castle warehouse, 154 Keystone Drive, the company recently was awarded a $1.5 million Redevelopment Assistance Capital Program state grant. That money will fund the addition of eight million cubic feet, Miles said, that will house light manufacturing and warehouse space. The plan also calls for retrofitting offices.

“We’ve always been known for the most innovative designs, great service levels and our business has grown like a rocket ship. Additional space is something that’s come with the vision we had for the business,” he said.

The new space will allow the company to add 15 to 20 jobs and work will begin “as soon as the ground thaws,” Miles said.

Initially, the downtown Youngstown showroom will not have any permanent employees, “but it’s a big investment for us.

“There’s not a lot of people investing millions of dollars in downtown Youngstown,” he said. “We continue to invest heavily in the business globally to secure the future for the business and our employees. The sign of any good business is reinvesting profits back into the business.”

Steelite’s expansion is the latest in a flurry of activity in the Shenango Valley, as New York Blower in August broke ground on a 30,000-square-foot expansion, Pennsylvania American Water began work on a $50 million treatment plant and work began on an $863 million electrical generation plant in New Castle.

“This grant award certainly shows the commonwealth’s commitment to creating jobs in western Pennsylvania. Lawrence County is moving in the right direction,” said Alex McCoy, CEO of the Lawrence County Regional Chamber of Commerce, said in a statement. “We can now count Steelite’s project among the great things happening here.”

Helping the company’s “rocket ship growth,” Miles said, is the foreign trade zone the New Castle warehouse occupies, which lowers the duties Steelite must pay to send its products to other countries.

Miles, a New Castle native, and PNC Riverarch Capital acquired Steelite International in 2016 after he served as president of the tableware company’s Americas division for 11 years. Steelite’s global headquarters is in Stoke-on-Trent, England.

While Miles himself has been in the industry for two decades, his family tree is intertwined with the china business as his father and two of his grandparents worked at New Castle’s Shenango China, which at the time was one of the country’s largest producers of tableware.

Miles has worked for Woodmere China and Homer Laughlin China Co. He joined Steelite in 1996 as a regional sales manager, working his way up to Americas president in 2005.

Pictured: Steelite CEO John Miles

Published by The Business Journal, Youngstown, Ohio.