NC: Richelieu Legwear to Invest $24M in Burke County, Create 205 Jobs | Trade and Industry Development

NC: Richelieu Legwear to Invest $24M in Burke County, Create 205 Jobs

Jun 17, 2014

Governor Pat McCrory and North Carolina Commerce Secretary Sharon Decker announced Richelieu Legwear International Inc. (Richelieu Legwear), is expanding its presence in Burke County through an investment of $16 million in a state-of-the-art manufacturing facility. This investment will bring Richelieu’s total investment in the U.S. to $24 million. The project is expected to result in the creation of 205 new jobs in Hildebran by the end of 2018.

“Global companies like Richelieu Legwear recognize that North Carolina is a great place for businesses to thrive because of our top-notch business climate and well-trained workforce,” said Governor McCrory. “I had a great meeting with the company’s president Michael Penner in Charlotte and personally thanked him for his commitment to triple the size of Richelieu Legwear’s workforce in North Carolina.”

Founded in Sorel, Quebec in 1934, Richelieu Legwear has distribution centers in Canada and the United States, offices in three countries and manufacturing sources in nine countries. It is a leading provider of legwear products to Walmart and other major retailers in the U.S., Canada and internationally under the brand names Peds, MediPeds and Growing Socks.

“Western North Carolina continues to be a top choice for international companies looking to establish and expand advanced manufacturing facilities,” said Secretary Decker. “This is an important show of support for rural North Carolina.”

The company acquired selected assets of International Legwear Group in Hildebran in 2011 and hired 45 members of the firm’s workforce. Currently, Richelieu Legwear has its U.S.-based operations in Hildebran where it employs more than 60 people.

Employees at the new facility will manufacture socks and will be supported by a long-term commitment from the company’s leading customer, Walmart. This partnership will assure that significant financial investments are supported by program placement from Walmart for years to come.

“We were fortunate to have had access to a skilled North Carolina workforce in 2011 that has contributed to our success, and are excited about building upon this strong foundation with new additions to our team,” said Richelieu president Michael Penner. “The decision to invest in North Carolina was a direct result of the support provided by the state that is enabling us to attract, train and retain a highly qualified workforce. The state grant is just one example of our good working relationship with Governor McCrory and his Commerce team to the benefit of North Carolinians.”

Compensation for the new positions will vary by job function, but the average annual salary will be $37,912 plus benefits. The average annual wage in Burke County is $32,834.

“North Carolina has always been a leader in manufacturing textile products,” said Representative Hugh Blackwell. “Burke County is on the front lines of innovation, and its talented workforce will be a solid fit for the expansion of Richelieu Legwear.”

“Western North Carolina is proud of its strong roots in manufacturing,” said Representative Mike Hager. “It makes great business sense for Richelieu Legwear to expand in Hildebran. We’re excited to welcome this expansion here and strengthen the local and regional economy with good jobs.”

“Richelieu is a leading, global employer that sees the value in what Burke County has to offer,” said Senator Warren Daniel. “Its expansion is proof that Western North Carolina’s manufacturing comeback continues to grow.”

The project is made possible in part by an award to Richelieu Legwear from the state Job Development Investment Grant (JDIG) program, as voted by the state Economic Investment Committee. Receipt of the award is based on proof of job creation and other performance requirements. JDIGs are awarded only to new and expanding businesses and industrial projects whose benefits exceed the costs to the state, and which would not be undertaken in North Carolina without the grant.

Under the terms of the company’s JDIG award, Richelieu Legwear is eligible to receive up to twelve annual grants equal to 75 percent of the state personal income tax withholdings from the eligible new jobs created since the date of the initial award. Receipt of each annual grant is based on state-certified proof that the company has fulfilled incremental job creation requirements. Over twelve years, the JDIG award could yield aggregate benefits to Richelieu Legwear of $2.9 million.

Other partners who assisted with this announcement include: The N.C. Department of Commerce, NC Community College System, NC Works, Burke County, the Town of Hildebran, Burke Development Incorporated and Duke Energy.

For more information about Richelieu Legwear, visit

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