Expected to employ up to 200 new hires, the facility will house Surya’s American operations, including design, sales and online services in addition to supply chain management. Valued as a $33.5 million investment, President Satya Tiwari said the facility will be completed by August 2015 and the company will move in by the end of that year. Work at the 75-acre site was expected to begin today.
An Indian company specializing in floor coverings and other interior accents, Surya represents a new type of business for the Highland 75 park as it is not a manufacturer. Bartow County Commissioner Steve Taylor believed such diversification was a benefit for the community.
“It’s great because one of our goals for the county and the city as well, I think, is to have a diversified industry base and this certainly diversified our industry quite a bit,” he said. “Even though this is not a manufacturing facility, it’s a distribution facility, but they’ve got a lot of creative jobs ... and that’s quite different from what we have in the county now. I think half these jobs will be creative, design-type jobs and those are going to be good for the community as far as diversifying our job base here.”
For the second time in less than a month Gov. Nathan Deal joined Bartow County officials to welcome a foreign investment. He noted the county’s recent spate of industrial announcements, saying his visits to the county were “a good habit.”
“As Steve [Taylor] indicated, your community has done as much if not more than any community I know of in Georgia to prepare itself for days such as today, and that’s what it takes,” Deal said. “It takes foresight and certainly Steve and the commissioners of your ... joint development organization — all of you have done an excellent job of working cooperatively and being willing to work with the state of Georgia.
“... It does take all of us focused on the same direction to be able to achieve the ability to attract businesses to come to our state, and certainly Surya is one of those additional companies that is going to add job opportunities here in Georgia.”
In his remarks to guests before the groundbreaking, Tiwari thanked his father, Surya Tiwari, for founding the company in 1976 in India and later opening the U.S. operations in 1986. He said it was “one of the boldest moves that I know of any man has taken today.” The company, Tiwari continued, allowed him to become an entrepreneur and strive to build a business.
“When I worked in the banking industry I had a great time. I learned a lot, but I could only do things for myself and my family. But being an entrepreneur, coming to Georgia, I have really an awesome time running a business with 300-plus employees, plus several thousand that we will add in the next 10 to 12 years. I could not have done that in the service industry. So I’m really fortunate my father started this business. I’m really fortunate that Bartow County and the state of Georgia has accepted us as a great partner,” he said.
Once built, Surya does not expect to use the entire 1 million square feet right away. When the company first moves in, Tiwari said, only half the building will be needed. However, the rest of the space will be used within approximately two years as the company plans to grow within the U.S. and North American market. Tiwari said Surya intends to expand from what he described as an $85 million company to a $1 billion company within nine years. With such plans in mind, he said it was necessary to think ahead in terms of needed warehouse space, recruiting future employees and efficient operations among departments.
“I think .... it’s closer to the interstate,” Tiwari said of the site. “We are in Calhoun, so it’s not too far from Calhoun, but it’s closer to Atlanta. As we are growing we are attracting a lot of talented folks from Atlanta and [the] commute of one hour each way was getting too long. This from midtown Atlanta is 40 minutes away, so I think as we grow it will be much easier to recruit as well as we are not too far from our existing facility.
“... We want to keep all our folks at one place, because I think there’s a lot of collaboration that goes on in sales, marketing, creating and design. So this makes it much more attractive.”
In his remarks Tiwari said Surya wishes to be a “responsible partner for the community.” The company’s highest priority in being such a partner, Tiwari felt, is stimulating economic development.
“I think the economic development community here has been very helpful, so we want to be able to be in service for them to attract other entrepreneurs here. So our goals is the more good people we have — the more good companies we have — it helps all of us,” he said. “So I think anything I can do on that angle — how do we make Bartow attractive to businesses all over the country — especially in our own line of work where we need to be closer to the port, we need to be closer to the interstate and closer to businesses.”
Having such a partnership is what Cartersville-Bartow County Economic Development looks for, said Executive Director Melinda Lemmon.
“Well, that was one of our first conversations. We always look for good corporate citizens in the companies we work with, whether they’re existing industries and certainly the new industries coming in. We want them to be good corporate citizens. We didn’t waste any time bringing up involvement in the community. For example, the college and career academy, and he didn’t waste any time agreeing to be part of the community and lend insight as to what kind of workforce he’s looking for and the needs the academy and school systems can help meet,” she said.