Mohawk Industries announced Wednesday an $85 million conversion of plants in Dalton and Rome that will add 420 jobs over the next two years in Dalton and maintain 230 jobs in Rome.
This marks the latest in a string of multi-million dollar capital investments by the floorcovering industry in Northwest Georgia and Whitfield County in particular.
“As the U.S. economic recovery gains traction, Mohawk is increasing manufacturing capacity to meet rising demand for the company’s premium soft carpets,” said Joe Yarbrough, Mohawk’s senior vice president of advanced manufacturing engineering in a press release. “These major investments in Dalton and Rome — in addition to the company’s previously announced Summerville project — will create or retain more than 1,000 excellent jobs across the region. We anticipate that these expansions will begin operation in 2014.”
Mohawk will convert two yarn-spinning plants to bulk continuous filament (BCF) twisting and heat setting plants, enabling both facilities to keep up with growing demands.
Greater Dalton Chamber of Commerce President Brian Anderson said the Dalton plant is at 2100 S. Hamilton St.
“This is an extremely positive development. As the economy has improved, especially the housing market, we are seeing increasing strength in the floorcovering industry,” Anderson said. “They are not only increasing volume. They are introducing the latest technology and equipment.”
The Commerce Department reported Wednesday that sales of new homes rose 25.4 percent on the month in October, the latest month for which data are available.
Mohawk is the latest floorcovering giant to announce a major expansion in Whitfield County in the past seven months.
Engineered Floors announced plans in May to invest $450 million in Northwest Georgia over the next five years, including a plant now under construction in Whitfield County, creating some 2,000 jobs.
And in September, Shaw Industries announced a $100 million investment in Whitfield County, including expanding an extrusion plant in Dalton and building 535,000 square feet of new warehouse space just south of the city, that will add 175 jobs.
Dalton Mayor David Pennington, who is running for governor, said these announcements illustrate the strength of Dalton’s industrial base.
“The state has lost 40 percent of its manufacturing jobs over the last 10 or 12 years,” he said. “We are the last manufacturing center left in Georgia, so when they start to retool and with the housing industry starting to pick up, it’s going to be big for that manufacturing center wherever it is.”
Anderson said the Mohawk expansion will qualify for the standard property tax abatement for new investment, which will be based on the amount invested and the number of jobs created, but will not receive any other local incentives.
Whitfield County Board of Commissioners Chairman Mike Babb said the recent expansion announcements show the effort by local officials to make the area even more competitive are paying off.
“I’ve only been involved on the edges of this because it takes place in the city. But 420 jobs is great news for the city of Dalton and it’s great news for Whitfield County,” he said.
Gov. Nathan Deal said Mohawk’s announcement shows that Georgia’s floorcovering industry remains competitive.
“Mohawk’s presence here has been a magnet for flooring suppliers and customers, and this expansion reflects the resilience of an industry that supplies more than half of the world's carpet and rugs,” Deal said in a press release.