Textile Corp. of America announced Monday it will make the biggest private investment ever in Bledsoe County, spending $27.1 million to buy and upgrade the vacant 186,000-square-foot factory building in Pikeville.
The new company, which is owned by Chattanooga developer and businessman Ed Cagle, plans to start production of apparel, bedding and linens this fall. Officials said that they hope to quickly increase the staff to 1,000 employees and begin hiring and training workers in the next month or so.
Troy King, a former attorney general for Alabama who is chief legal counsel for the company said that it is time to bring textile manuafacturing back to America again. They believe this represents the renaissance of America, the return of America as a global manufacturing center.
The textile manufacturer will locate its headquarters on the 16-acre site here and install what it says is state-of-the-art machinery to produce industrial and institutional textile products, including apparel, kitchen linens and bedding for the healthcare and hospitality industries. The leadership of the new business has more than four decades of experience working around the globe, and Cagle said in a statement he is eager to bring production back to the United States.
Cagle, owner of Cagle & Associates in Chattanooga and a builder of Family Dollar stores and other commercial projects across the country said that they are proud to call Pikeville, Tenn., home to their new mill. Millions of dollars of investment and the creation of thousands of jobs will be transformative for this county and region.
The company looked at sites in several states for the textile plant before buying the abandoned Dura Automotive facility earlier this month for $850,000.
A thousand jobs in any community is big news, but it is especially welcome in Bledsoe County, said Tennessee Gov. Bill Haslam in announcing the project Monday afternoon at the plant site. Some people worry that they no longer make things in America, but we still make things in Tennessee, and this is a great example for Bledsoe County and all of Tennessee.
King said that the new plant should be in production by October.
The project represents one of the biggest new textile job generators so far in 2017 and is part of a growing trend of "re-shoring" investment back into the United States after decades of moving textile and apparel production offshore where land and labor is usually far cheaper.
Jeff Price, president of the specialty fabrics division of Milliken & Co. and chairman of the National Council of Textile Organizations, said that the U.S. textile industry "is on sound footing" and growing again after decades of decline.
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