?HESSTON — Excel Industries had a problem.?The Hesston-based manufacturer of industrial and residential lawn mowers had been storing its mowers outside, which left the products exposed to the elements. The Kansas wind could be tough on the mowers, and so could the snow.?Bob Mullet with Excel Industries recalls sending a mowing shipment to Florida last winter, and so much snow was attached to the shipment the recipient was able to make a snowman.?“We would rather not repeat that,” Mullet said with a laugh.?Excel Industries announced it is constructing a 200 by 200 foot (40,000 square feet) addition to the south of their current assembly plant. The company’s finished Hustler and Big Dog brand mowers will be stored inside this addition.?“We just think we’re going to have a better conditioned product,” said Mullet.?Excel would like to have the addition completed by Sept. 15, in advance of “Hustler Days” on Sept. 24, where dealers from all across the United States are invited to view new products, tour the Excel plant and attend seminars.?Mullet said Excel Industries is anticipating an increase in volume in the near future, and the company is purchasing several pieces of fabrication equipment.?In the fall, the company would like to introduce a line of new, lower-cost residential mowers.?Mullet is hoping the new mower line will boost domestic sales, which were impacted by the recent drought.?Export sales are up, though, with Australia serving as the biggest overseas market for Excel’s products. Other countries exported to include New Zealand, South Africa and Denmark. Last year, export sales accounted for 15 percent of Excel’s total volume, Mullet said.?In the future, Excel plans to continue filling out its product lines, from small residential mowers to large commercial units.?“We still think there’s plenty of growth to be had,” Mullet said.