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Southeast Georgia Manufacturer Prepares for Large Plant Expansion and Workforce Increase


In 1971, in the small town of Lyons, Georgia, A.L. Hartley started Robin Builders, a portable storage building and utility shed manufacturer. In 1979, he expanded the operations to Florida and the two facilities have been in operation ever since. In 1987, A.L.’s son, Wayne Hartley, took over the family business and has continued to not only thrive in Southeast Georgia, but has become a source of jobs for more than 85 people in Lyons and neighboring towns.

The Challenge

Fifty years ago when Robin was founded, A.L. Hartley bought two buildings and the land in which the facility would operate on. Over the course of the company’s history, they have added onto the facility six different times. By doing so, the operations lines have been piecemeal-ed together, limiting efficient flow and the ability to change their production methods. Realizing they needed to start doing things more efficiently, as well as safer and faster, Wayne Hartley called upon Charity Stevens, project manager for the Georgia Manufacturing Extension Partnership (GaMEP) at Georgia Tech, part of the MEP National Network™, to look at revamping their operations.
Charity was very helpful in this process and gave us good information to keep us pointed in the right direction.
— Wayne Hartley, CEO

MEP's Role

After meeting with the company and getting a better understanding of their needs, Stevens presented numerous solutions to Hartley to use their existing facility. Hartley said, “After looking at each of these options and talking with Charity, it became apparent that there were too many limitations to account for our impending growth in the existing facility. So we began planning what we would want if we were to move our company to a new location with a clean slate”

Not long after, Hartley purchased an industrial tract two miles away from the existing location, and he, Stevens, and the rest of the Robin team began creating the ideal space for their new plant. The plans include moving their current equipment and 15 new pieces of custom equipment, that will allow them to increase their present production quantities and provide them the opportunity to expand into other markets. Stevens analysis shows the new equipment will allow a 50 percent growth in production.

In May 2019, Hartley announced that Robin will break ground for the new facility at the end of the year and that Robin’s workforce will also increase significantly.

Created July 8, 2020, Updated June 16, 2023