Expected to create 500 jobs in roughly five years, the plant will be located on Ga. Highway 140 near Hall Station Road inside the Adairsville city limits. The plant is expected to be 600,000 to 700,000 square feet in its first phase, with the 117-acre lot providing additional room for expansion if necessary. It is planned to produce modular carpet, better known as carpet tile.
Construction is expected to begin sometime in 2014.
The announcement comes after what Shaw executives called a “very competitive” selection process that spanned multiple states, counties and communities across the nation. When local and state economic development officials and organizations began working on the project they did not know who was looking at the site.
“We worked on the project under a code name for a long time — had no idea who it was,” said Development Authority of Bartow County Attorney Boyd Pettit. “I didn’t until just a few weeks ago, but because of the presence of the company in our community we’re extremely pleased to know your expansion efforts are going to land here in Bartow.”
At noon, Thursday, the Development Authority of Bartow County held a called meeting to approve the memorandum of understanding with Shaw and make the site selection official.
“There are some other communities who are going to be disappointed when they hear this because it was a highly competitive situation. We looked at a lot of places, and so we landed here because of the quality of things that everyone collectively did,” said Shaw Director of Corporate Assets Chuck Dobbins during the meeting.
Dobbins’ comments were echoed by numerous local officials who all praised the efforts of the Cartersville-Bartow County Economic Development team, the Joint Development Authority, the Georgia Department of Economic Development and Adairsville city officials in working together to bring the Shaw plant to Bartow.
“There’s several people that were involved in this and I want to make sure everybody knows it was a group effort and [there were] a lot of people involved,” said authority Vice-Chairman Eric Strickland.
After the ink dried on the MOU, Adairsville hosted a reception at the Adairsville Rail Depot Age of Steam Museum for local and state officials involved with the selection process. Pettit thanked members of the Georgia Department of Economic Development, local real estate partners, government officials and economic development teams for their efforts.
Dobbins, of Shaw, said the company was looking forward to growing its business.
“We’re talking about something new. We’ve had too many times in the past several years where our industry has been dinged so hard by the housing downturn that it is so nice — John Wilkinson, my associate, and I have spent too much of our time talking about where capacity needed to be taken out because there wasn’t sufficient demand for the amount of capacity we had. So this is exciting for our company,” he said.
Shaw also manufactures carpet tiles at the plant on U.S. Highway 411 between Cartersville and Rome. The facility, which Dobbins said is more than 1 million square feet, is at full capacity and the company cannot expand it any further. Shaw employes approximately 1,400 people there. In five years, Dobbins explained, the Adairsville plant could employ 500.
“We only see that far, but with 117 acres there could be future phases. We hope that demand for what we do will be great enough that there are future phases. We’re happy about that one,” Dobbins said.
County Administrator Peter Olson — who represented Commissioner Steve Taylor at the event as he was out of town and unable to attend — also thanked the economic development authorities for their work. Olson then thanked Shaw for keeping so many manufacturing jobs in Bartow County during the recession.
Adairsville Mayor Evan King, after thanking City Manager Pat Crook and the city council, said he looked forward to supplying the plant with the necessary infrastructure and seeing so many jobs come to the community.
“I’m really ... Most of you don’t know me, I don’t really get excited. I’m pretty even keel. Some of you [have] known me longer than others, but I’m excited today. I might not show it, but I’m excited for what this means for our community, and all I can really say is thank you,” King said.
The new plant will be Adairsville’s first Shaw plant. King said he knew the jobs would not be exclusively offered to Adairsville and Bartow County residents, but he still looked forward to the economic boost from increased use of services and sales the plant is expected to generate.
For Brittany Holtzclaw of the Georgia Department of Economic Development, who Pettit singled out for a special thank you, the site selection was a win for the state.
“It is a great feeling, and we definitely couldn’t do this without the city of Adairsville and the Bartow County Development Authority,” Holtzclaw said. “The state of Georgia, the governor, the commissioner of economic development certainly realizes that the commercial flooring industry, or even the flooring industry, is such a huge establishment and kind of what makes northwest Georgia, and to be able to continue that is amazing.”
Shaw, which is headquartered in Dalton, has a heavy presence in Bartow County. Olson said the company was the county’s largest private employer, and Dobbins also recognized the close relationship the company has with local officials.
“Certainly the knowledge that the things that Bartow County officials say they will do, they do, always factors in,” said Dobbins on the selection process. “But we can also say we put the emotions out of it and Adairsville, Bartow County, the site all won on the merits of the location, the quality of the site, the transportation, the overall package of everything that was put together allowed the site to win. It was icing on the cake that it’s in Bartow County, where we know that we can do business quite well because we’ve been successful here for so many years.”
With the site selected, Shaw will now move forward with site planning and planning for the plant itself.