Gov. Nathan Deal announced that EP American Footwear (EPAF), LLC, will open its first footwear manufacturing facility in Hazlehurst, creating 250 jobs and investing up to $10 million over the next 36 months.
“Georgia’s strong manufacturing infrastructure helps companies such as EP American Footwear thrive and grow,” said Deal. “The company’s new facility reflects how Georgia’s competitive assets can yield economic gains for the local community.”
The 13-acre EPAF facility will open its doors in 2014 and is expected to manufacture 4 million pairs of shoes annually, reaching major retailers across the United States. The project will provide shoes to Walmart and support Walmart’s commitment to creating more jobs and increasing domestic manufacturing.
“We are excited to bring manufacturing back to the USA and specifically Hazlehurst,” said Joe Russell, Co-CEO of EPAF. “EPAF will be the largest molded footwear facility in the nation and this will be the first large-volume footwear manufacturer to produce shoes in the U.S. in quite a few years. We chose Hazlehurst as our location primarily due to the local workforce who lost their jobs during the exodus of employers from years past.”
EPAF will also utilize Georgia Quick Start, the nation’s top workforce training program, to provide customized training for its new employees. The company received assistance from numerous state and local economic development partners. Project Manager Ryan Waldrep assisted the company on behalf of the Georgia Department of Economic Development.
“This location is coming to fruition thanks to cooperation from the Joint Development Authority of Jeff Davis County, Hazlehurst and Denton, the state of Georgia, the Georgia Department of Economic Development and Georgia Power,” said Ray Wooten, Jeff Davis County Commission chairman. “We look forward to working with EP American Footwear for many years to come.”
“EP American Footwear’s decision to locate in Jeff Davis County is a turning point for the region, which has been disproportionately affected by joblessness over the course of the last decade,” said Chris Carr, commissioner of the Georgia Department of Economic Development. “The company will provide new jobs and opportunity to a workforce that is already well-versed in manufacturing operations.”
About EP American Footwear, LLC
EP American Footwear, LLC, is a partnership between Elan Polo, a leading global provider of nonbranded footwear, and McPherson Manufacturing, provider of contract assembly and manufacturing services.