Broan-Nutone moving work from Canada to Hartford amid expansion

Company investing more than $20 million in its facilities

Broan-Nutone LLC is moving work from its Toronto area facility to Hartford in the midst of a $20 million investment in its headquarters.

Broan-Nutone is in the process of expanding its Hartford facility.

The Hartford-based company, which makes residential range hoods and ventilation fans among other products, is investing roughly $10 million to add 150,000 square feet of warehouse space, doubling the existing warehouse space.

Chief executive officer Frank Carroll said the company would also be investing in automation technology to help the Hartford facility become more efficient and increase capacity. Broan-Nutone closed its Toronto area plant and brought the work to Hartford.

Company executives said last year Broan wouldn’t be expanding in Hartford until there was a reliever route for truck traffic to get to Interstate 41. Carroll, who joined the company in May, said he doesn’t see the lack of a truck route being an issue.

Broan, which is celebrating its 85th anniversary, will show off the expansion to the public from 8 a.m. to noon Saturday during an open house at its headquarters at 926 W. State St. in Hartford. There will be tours every 15 minutes, but visitors must wear closed-toed shoes.

“The significant portion of what we manufacture is here in Hartford,” Carroll said, estimating the facility accounts for about 70 percent of production. Broan also has operations near Quebec, in Mexico and in China.

About 850 of the company’s 2,500 employees work in Hartford in all areas of the business. The company currently has about 50 openings and will be adding another 20 jobs with the warehouse expansion, Carroll said.

Adding work and expanding puts an added stress on the company’s workforce needs, especially as older workers approach retirement.

“It’s a challenge for everybody,” Carroll said.

Broan has sought to embrace opportunities to expose younger people to potential career opportunities. That includes offering co-ops and internships along with hiring people on for work in the summer.

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Arthur covers banking and finance and the economy at BizTimes while also leading special projects as an associate editor. He also spent five years covering manufacturing at BizTimes. He previously was managing editor at The Waukesha Freeman. He is a graduate of Carroll University and did graduate coursework at Marquette. A native of southeastern Wisconsin, he is also a nationally certified gymnastics judge and enjoys golf on the weekends.

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