September 19, 2013

Economy on the way back?

Shaw to add 175 new jobs in Dalton

— Shaw Industries may be expanding its reach in China and building new facilities in other parts of the state, but that doesn’t mean it doesn’t see a future in Whitfield County.

Company officials said Monday Shaw will spend $100 million during the next five years to expand a fiber extrusion facility in Dalton and to streamline its distribution network, including the construction of an additional 530,000 square feet of warehouse space just south of the south Dalton bypass. Those projects are expected to create 175 jobs.

“As our end-use markets recover, we are accelerating our investments in our business. This will benefit not only our customers, but our associates and the communities where we operate,” Shaw Chairman and CEO Vance Bell said in a press release.

Shaw will expand Plant WM, an extrusion facility, at 902 N. Hamilton St. The plant will begin adding employees as new equipment comes online starting in October. The expansion will increase the plant’s capacity by 30 percent and add 65 jobs.

“The distribution network expansion will start next fall, and the jobs that will be added will be added over five years,” said Rebecca Treacy-Lenda, a spokeswoman for Shaw.

The distribution network expansion includes the construction of new warehouse space, Shaw  Plant 34, at 2456 Yeager Drive S.W., as well as consolidating shipping points for both carpet and hard surface flooring in other distribution centers in northwest Georgia. When completed, hard surface distribution will be consolidated into one central location with an additional 70 percent capacity.

“This is just another sign that the economic recovery is in place,” said Brian Anderson, president and CEO of the Greater Dalton Chamber of Commerce. “It may not be coming as fast as we’d want it to be by many measures. But we should see employment grow over the next few years.”

New housing starts nationwide were up 19 percent from the year before in August, while building permits were 11 percent higher than the year before. Anderson said the growing strength of the housing market should have a positive impact on Dalton’s floorcovering industry.

“This announcement shows that the floorcovering industry remains firmly committed to northwest Georgia and Dalton and Whitfield in particular,” Anderson said.

Wednesday’s announcement was the third expansion plan announced by Shaw in as many weeks. The company said last week it will spend $85 million to build a carpet tile manufacturing plant in Adairsville. And it opened a carpet tile facility in Nantong, China, in late August to serve Asian markets.

Anderson said Shaw’s latest expansion will qualify for the standard tax incentives provided by the state and local governments.

“At the state level, they will qualify for up to $3,000 per job per year (income tax) credit for, I think, 10 years,” Anderson said.

The projects will also qualify for local property tax abatements on any new equipment or facilities. The exact value of those abatements is based on a formula that takes into account the dollar value of the investment, the number of jobs the project will create and other factors.

“In this case, it qualified for a 40 percent tax abatement in both the city and the county,” said Andrew Carnes, lead project manager for the Dalton-Whitfield Joint Development Authority. “In the city, the taxes that will be abated are about $4 million over 15 years. In the county, it will come out to about $1.5 million over 10 years.”