Colonial Chemical plans $13.8 million expansion to add 44 more jobs in New Hope, Tennessee

Colonial Chemical / Contributed photo
Colonial Chemical / Contributed photo

Nearly three decades after moving to Marion County to produce its surfactant products for a variety of industries, Colonial Chemical seems to have found the right chemistry in New Hope, Tennessee.

Colonial announced Monday it is planning the biggest expansion in the company's 31-year history even as it joins in a separate joint venture to make its specialty products in Saudi Arabia.

Colonial plans to invest $13.8 million to add a new R&D laboratory and tank farm at its New Hope facility over the next four years to boost production and uses of its specialty chemicals in the personal care products, household cleaners, and the metalworking and oil and gas industries.

The addition will add 44 more workers to the company, which has already grown from a half dozen workers when it began in 1988 to 147 employees today in Marion County.

"This is a busy time at Colonial Chemical," said David Anderson, Jr., the company president who is the son of Colonial founder David Anderson Sr. "In the past year, we have upgraded significant systems in our plant, added additional reactor equipment, and moved our administrative offices into a new building. We have outgrown our existing warehouses for storage, and we've needed additional loading bays for the increased traffic that's pouring into our plant. "

Located at 225 Colonial Dr., Colonial Chemical's expansion will include renovations of its existing 25,000-square-foot warehouse and the addition of a stand-alone employee facility. Colonial Chemical said a new R&D laboratory and tank farm should be complete by 2025.

"Over 20% of our sales are exported so we are a major international company and we're trying to become a $100 million-plus company," Anderson said. "We do a lot of chemistry that is 100% bio-based content and free of many of the regulated products not allowed in some states so it's a nice modern formulary change to use our products."

Colonial also entered into a joint venture earlier this year to make specialty chemicals at a production site in Saudi Arabia and the company also recently opened a sales office in the Netherlands.

At its headquarters in New Hope, Anderson said Marion County has been "very supportive" of Colonial's growth, helping to train recruit and train workers at a Chattanooga State Community College satellite branch and working to secure a $500,000 Appalachian Regional Commission grant to help extend a CSX rail spur to Colonial's property along with the nearby 920-acre Nickajack Port Industrial Park. The rail spur will help in the delivery of raw materials for Colonial Chemical.

Marion County Mayor David Jackson said the rail spur and industrial park should help further propel business growth for Colonial and others in the county.

"We are very excited that their growth has continued through the years and that they are able to do another expansion at their New Hope plant," Jackson said Monday.

New Hope Mayor Mark Myers said Colonial "brought in jobs, they've spent money and time off hours beautifying our town, and they've been environmentally conscientious in operating a safe and productive chemical manufacturing site.

"Colonial is an essential partner in the growth of our community, and we're all delighted to see them do well," Myers said.

In a statement announcing the expansion, Tennessee Gov. Bill Lee said Colonial Chemical is the latest of nearly 80 economic development projects with a total of $3.2 billion of capital investment in Southeast Tennessee over the past five years. Collectively, those projects have created or saved brought more than 10,500 job commitments with a total of $3.2 billion in new capital investment.

Contact Dave Flessner at or 423-757-6340.

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