Did you know that your Frigidaire or Electrolux fridge could have been built right here in the Upstate? Since 1988, Electrolux has produced thousands of refrigerator and freezer products in the area after expanding to Anderson. The company is now in the midst of building a new $300 million facility with the existing facility converting to a warehouse once operations are moved.
Electrolux is more than 100 years old, says company CEO Nolan Pike. The company currently offers a full line of kitchen and laundry appliances under brands like Frigidaire, Kelvinator and Electrolux. The Anderson plant produces mostly refrigeration and refrigeration components — made with the help of many local suppliers from the Upstate.
The partnership between Anderson and Electrolux is holding strong. Pike says Anderson has been welcoming and collaborative over the years. “We’ve been in the community for quite a while,” says Pike. “We’ve consistently made investments in Anderson, and I think that it’s been a nice place to work.”
The company employs about 2,000 people at the Anderson facility and 12,000 globally.
Anderson also houses the company’s global research and development team. “We have regional R&D [research and development] centers that kind of do things that are unique to North America or Europe, and we have global growth. And when we call an R&D center a global [one] it means that employees there are also working on refrigerators across the world,” says Pike. About 100 employees work in R&D in Anderson, and the rest work on the automation floor and in other roles.
Electrolux’s new facility, which will feature new technology and automation in its product lines, is expected to be operational in mid-2021 with lines opening at the new facility as others at the existing building are closed. Once at complete capacity, the Anderson facility will produce about 2 million units a year.
Increase in demand
Since the pandemic, Electrolux has seen an increase in demand for its products with consumers wanting to either update their appliances or replace them. But at the onset, things were a bit rockier.
“We saw a reduction in output of anywhere between 10% and 30%, just because we had to get used to this new way of producing appliances,” says Pike. “But as the pandemic continued, 80% of people have started eating [most of their meals] at home. This has resulted in people needing new appliances. All of a sudden, all of the types of refrigerators we make in Anderson were sold out,” he says.
“I think as people spent more time at home, things they accepted before, they wouldn’t accept anymore. They needed these appliances functional,” Pike says. So, customers bought the new refrigerator or freezer instead of just making do with their current one.
Pike sees demand continuing, despite the pandemic, as more people begin to experiment with their cooking. This could lead to faster innovation. “Because customers are at home, cooking more, learning to use their appliances in new ways,” Pike says, “They’re demanding more of their appliances.”