CHARLESTON, SC— Wire World of America formally opened its 27,000 sq. ft. distribution center/office here, enabling the company to more efficiently handle its growing business in the United States. Sergio Morandi, Rita Rezzonico and Jerry Tully of Wire World said that the new building was sited here to take advantage of the port of Charleston, the second largest on the Eastern Seaboard, after New York. Currently, the new facility is filled 60-70% to capacity, Tully, vp/sales of WireWorld, explained, but the building can be expanded by another 50% as the company’s American business grows in the future. “We used the Metaltex facility in the U.K. as the model for this building,” Rezzonico said. “It made it easier for us to design the building here.” She added that the U.K. Metaltex facility, originally a 22,000 sq. ft. structure, will complete an expansion to 60,000 sq. ft. next month. President Sergio Morandi said that Metaltex worldwide has 14-owned distribution centers and utilizes another 12. The company has 700 employees worldwide, and 10 full-time here in Charleston. “We are very proud of our growth in America, and we already feel very much at home here— like it is our home turf,” Morandi said. “I am very pleased with our management team that made this building a reality.” Tully said that Wire World’s American business ranges from 40-60% direct container to customers, with the remaining goods flowing through the distribution center here. The company’s line ranges from plastic-coated wire storageware to utensils and gadgets and, new in January 2000, insulated thermal ware. Wire World will receive goods here from both Europe and China at Metaltex-owned factories. The company entered the U.S. under its own name in the early 1980’s, and it purchased in 1983 an existing facility in Central Islip, New York. It has since sold that building to relocate here. As part of its worldwide expansion, Morandi said, the company opened its own factory in China in October 1998, and it also has plans to open a centralized warehouse in Italy.