AL: Mohawk Acquires Fiber Facility in Bridgeport, Preserving Jobs
3 May, 2017
Jackson County officials announced that Mohawk Industries has acquired the former Beaulieu fiber facility in Bridgeport in a transaction that includes a commitment to preserve current jobs and grow employment in the community.
“To support the growing demand for its carpet and rug collections, Mohawk has purchased a fiber plant in Bridgeport, Alabama,” said Brian Carson, president of Mohawk Flooring North America. “We are impressed with the Bridgeport plant’s team and manufacturing capabilities, and we look forward to growing the plant to produce innovative fibers into the future.”
Mohawk is investing significantly to modernize and upgrade the equipment and the building in the Jackson County city, according to the Alabama Department of Commerce. Mohawk has established its initial workforce with individuals already employed at the plant and is actively recruiting people to satisfy present staffing needs.
The company anticipates increasing its Bridgeport workforce as ongoing investments expand the plant’s manufacturing capacity.
Finding a New Owner
Jackson County officials said the revival of the fiber plant represents a major economic boon to Bridgeport, a community with a population of around 2,400.
“We are excited to welcome Mohawk to Bridgeport,” Mayor Bubba Hughes said. “We are eager to work with them to make their move a success.”
In January, the Beaulieu Group announced plans to shut down most of the operations at the Bridgeport factory, where it extruded nylon, polyester and polypropylene fibers and provided heat set and cabling for fibers. The plant, open since 1987, was the city’s second largest manufacturing employer.
Beaulieu also launched a search for a buyer, and received a helping hand from local leaders and a host of economic development agencies.
“This transaction by Mohawk, which supports employment growth in Jackson County, was facilitated by teamwork and a determination to find a new owner for a manufacturing facility that has been critical to the vitality of its community,” said Greg Canfield, secretary of the Alabama Department of Commerce. “Mohawk’s investment will ensure that the plant – and those jobs – have a future in Jackson County for years to come,” he added.
Vince Perez, a project manager with the Alabama Department of Commerce, said Mohawk was in the market for a new fiber facility when Beaulieu put the Bridgeport plant up for sale. The deal allowed Mohawk to avoid a costly “greenfield” project while being able to invest in new technology and meet an internal timeline.
Commerce, including AIDT, teamed with the Jackson County Economic Development Authority, City of Bridgeport, Jackson County Commission, Jackson County Legislative delegation, and Bridgeport Utilities to offer job training, tax abatements and other incentives. The Tennessee Valley Authority also assisted on the project.
Perez said Mohawk selected the Alabama location over a strong option in South Carolina.
Mohawk Industries is the world’s largest flooring manufacturer with a complete line of products including carpet, rugs, ceramic tile, laminate, wood, sheet vinyl and luxury vinyl tile. Mohawk operates manufacturing facilities in 11 states and 15 countries, and the company’s products are sold in more than 160 nations.
The Fortune 500 manufacturing company reported sales of $9 billion in 2016, and employs more than 37,800 around the globe.