Left: Dolores (Dodie) F. Anderson cuts the ribbon during the opening of the new Design Center as Don Finkell, (right), company president/ceo, looks on with company shareholders and family members.

The Anderson Family of Companies cut the ribbon on a multi-function facility designed to honor its rich history. The new 165,000-sq. ft Bob Anderson Design Center, in Fountain Inn, S.C., will handle design, administrative, research, educational, installation training and warehouse functions. Included is a company museum as well as tributes to the building’s namesake, Bob Anderson, who built the company over a career that spanned more than 50 years.

Located on a 65 acre site in the northwestern tip of South Carolina, the facility will not be involved in manufacturing, which will remain at the company’s nearby headquarters in Clinton, S.C. While most of the new facility-130,000 sq. ft.-is devoted to warehousing, 20,000 sq. ft. is occupied by offices and other operations including a duplicate computer system and a presentation room. In a clear indication that Anderson remains in a growth mode, 10,000 sq. ft. has been left unoccupied to accommodate future expansion. The Design Center will serve as the corporate headquarters of Appalachian Engineered Floors, a 5-year-old sister company of Anderson Hardwood that has outgrown its space in the Clinton facility.

The 22-year-old building, which was once a factory for Michelin Tires, was refurbished over the past year in preparation for the new occupants. During the remodeling project, interior walls and equipment were removed and three truck bays for shipping and receiving were added. Also, a number of details were included to reflect Anderson’s history and highlight the company’s innovations over the years, including the introduction of engineered hardwood.

Trees outside the facility include oak, hickory and other species used by Anderson to make flooring. Inside, the lobby and ceiling tiles include pressed veneer panels that are similar to the company’s wood flooring products. In keeping with company tradition, each executive office has a distinct wood floor made with product from a forthcoming Anderson introduction. Anderson ceo Don Finkell’s office features reclaimed heart pine with an oil finish.

All around are reminders of the Anderson family’s history in flooring. Numerous photos and mementos recall the legacy of Bob Anderson, who remained active with the company until his death in 2002. In the lobby, directly in front of a portrait of Anderson, a floor medallion highlights the companies he led. Adjacent to a waterfall in the lobby, there is a holographic presentation that includes a 10-minute dramatization recounting the company’s history and the evolution of the hardwood floor.

“The Design Center image reinforces our corporate positioning as the wood flooring style and design leader,” said Finkell, who hosted a grand opening celebration for the facility in December. He added that the ownership structure is part of an estate plan developed to assure future generations of the Anderson family retain ownership. “Fewer than 3% of all companies make it to the third generation of family ownership,” commented Finkell, Bob Anderson’s son-in-law who joined the company in 1980. “Getting to the fourth and fifth requires extensive foresight and planning. The Bob Anderson Design Center is part of that vision.”

The new Design Center becomes the sixth major facility operated by the Anderson Family of Companies (Anderson, Appalachian, Virginia Vintage and Anderson Pacific). In addition to Clinton, there are plants in Walterboro and Fairfax, S.C., Maine, and Mississippi.