Updated at 12:07 a.m. on Saturday, May 19, 2018.
Grading for a new microfiber production plant at the Trion, Ga., industrial park off U.S. 27 is expected to begin in a couple of weeks.
Chattooga County, Georgia, has won a new $19 million microfiber production plant, beating out Walker and other nearby counties.
"It was the best place for the expansion. They had better tax incentives and were easy to work with," said Will Dendy, a partner in Dixie Color Inc., which is setting up the newly formed Dixie Specialty Fibers Inc. factory that will employ 100 people.
Dixie Color, which has a plant in Walker County, Georgia, specializes in single pigment dispersions, custom color master batches and plastic compounding.
The expansion to an industrial park in Trion, Georgia, will support a new product line of polyethylene terephthalate microfiber for use in bath mats, area rugs and carpet, according to the company.
"Will Dendy and I started Dixie Color in 2009 with the vision of being a full-service color supplier to the tremendous growth of the
solution-dyed flooring industry," said Lee Starks, vice president of Dixie Color.
He said the new plant will be the first local domestic supplier of microfiber, and "we are even more excited about the opportunities it will create for our existing and future employees, as well as continuing to meet our customers' needs."
Chattooga County Commissioner Jason Winters said the project received a 10-year, 100 percent property tax abatement. Also, a 7-acre tract was donated for the factory, he said.
"This is our first business to locate in that park," he said. "We felt it was a good fit."
Trion Mayor Larry Stansell said the state of Georgia also offered tax incentives for the project, which could lead to even more investment from the company.
"They've asked the town to reserve added acreage," he said. "They're planning for the future."
Dendy said plans are to keep the company's existing facility in Walker County for now.
"We're not moving current employees as of now. It's possible in the future," he said about the plant that has just under 50 employees and is seven miles from planned facility.
Walker County spokesman Joe Legge said "we were as competitive as we could be locally."
He said the company received more state incentives by landing in Chattooga than it would have if it had built in Walker because of a tiered system related to such issues as population and proximity to services.
"Dixie has been an outstanding business partner," Legge said. "Their existing operations will continue in our community. We wish them continued success."
Earlier this year, the business owners said they were exploring sites outside of Walker for the new plant, adding they've been "disadvantaged" by that county. The owners mentioned property tax increases which took place last year in Walker, but said business incentives were even more of an issue.
Dendy said the first piece of equipment is to be delivered this fall for the new plant. Hiring for the first 56 employees will start at the end of 2018, he said.
Production should start by March 2019, Dendy said. Within about two and a half years, another 44 workers should have been hired, he said.
Average pay should hit more than $15 per hour, Dendy said.
Jeff Mullis, CEO of the Northwest Georgia Joint Development Authority, said it assisted in the expansion and the project will result in a net gain in jobs and capital investment to the region.
Gov. Nathan Deal said Georgia "offers a wealth of resources for innovative companies like Dixie Color to grow their business, including our top-ranked business climate and high-performing transportation infrastructure."
Contact Mike Pare at email@example.com or 423-757-6318. Follow him on Twitter @MikePareTFP.