Marvin is growing its Fargo operations by nearly 300,000 square feet — and sweetening the pot for the 300 new employees the company says it will need to hire this year.

The Minnesota-based window and door maker said Tuesday that it is building a 127,000-square-foot manufacturing facility and a 148,000-square-foot distribution center in Fargo to keep up with surging demand.

"Marvin has been on a really nice growth trajectory over the last five years," company President Darrin Peterson said in an interview. "It really got accelerated during the pandemic as people started investing in their homes and the work-from-home transition started to take place."

Marvin also announced it is bumping its starting wage to $20 an hour — an 8% increase from the previous $18.50 starting rate — and giving new hires access to benefits on day one.

Many companies require a probation period before new hires can receive benefits, but the lopsided job market has employers looking for new ways to compete for a limited pool of workers.

In the Fargo-Moorhead metro area, the unemployment rate was a considerably low 1.8% in November, according to the most recent federal data. Across North Dakota, there were three job openings for every unemployed person in the state last fall, per the Bureau of Labor Statistics.

"Like many manufacturers, we're raising wages to attract the talent we need, but we're also focused on more than wages," Peterson said.

Marvin is "prototyping" flexible schedules in its manufacturing plants amid other efforts to recruit and retain the workforce needed to grow, said creative director Emily Finley.

"We're just trying to remove barriers that make working and living difficult," she said.

Headquartered in remote Warroad, Minn., Marvin first opened a factory in Fargo 25 years ago. It now has six facilities in the area that employ 1,700 people — nearly a quarter of Marvin's total workforce.

"We have all our suppliers right there — that's not the same in Warroad," Peterson said.

The expansions are expected to be completed by summer. Marvin said it will hire 150 people to staff the new manufacturing and distribution center and an additional 150 or more across the company's operations.

Marvin Windows and Doors rebranded to Marvin in 2019 and remains a privately held, family-owned company. Trade publication Window+Door estimates Marvin is among seven U.S. companies in the industry with more than $1 billion in yearly revenue.