Gildan considers 474 jobs, $242 million investment in Rowan, Davie
MOCKSVILLE — Textile manufacturing could return to Davie County in a big way if Gildan Activewear chooses Davie and Rowan for two 500,000-square-foot plants that could bring a total of 474 new jobs to the two counties.
“It’s an incredible story in terms of textiles coming back and looking in the U.S. for production capacity,” said Terry Bralley, president of the Davie County Economic Development Commission.
While Rowan still has Parkdale Mills and Tuscarora Yarn, Davie hasn’t had a textile manufacturing plant for years, Bralley said.
Gildan is considering three sites in Davie for a textile plant and one site in Rowan for a similar facility. The Montreal-based company is already building a $43 million yarn-spinning plant in the old PGT Windows building on Heilig Road near Salisbury, expected to create 200 jobs in the next six months.
Davie and Rowan are competing with South Carolina for the two additional plants.
Under the proposal, the company would invest $112 million in Davie and create 290 jobs. The $130 million Rowan plant, proposed for Heilig Road behind the former PGT building, would employ 184 people.
Both Davie and Rowan county commissioners will consider economic incentives for Gildan when the boards meet separately Monday.
Gildan is asking for 26 acres of free land from Rowan commissioners, as well as tax incentives worth about $4.2 million over seven years.
In Davie, commissioners are considering about $2.4 million in incentives. Mocksville officials are mulling over a request for about $1 million to help the company with site improvements and other incentives.
Gildan also has requested incentives from the state.
Bralley said the company is looking at privately owned vacant land in Mocksville, as well as tracts along the Interstate 40 corridor. Bralley said he feels confident Davie and Mocksville elected officials will vote to grant incentives.
“They get what it takes to compete for projects of this scale,” he said. “Our people need jobs.”
If Davie, Mocksville, Rowan and state officials all agree to offer incentives, Bralley said he expects Gildan to make a decision about where to build the plants within 30 days.
“It’s exciting to see textiles and in our case furniture manufacturing coming back,” he said. “Who would have thought we’d see furniture and textile jobs coming back to this country.”
Last year, Ashley Furniture announced it would open an $80 million furniture plant in Davie and create up to 1,100 jobs. The plant is up and running with 250 employees, and work has started on a $1.1 million addition to the former R.J. Reynolds facility, Bralley said.
In Rowan, Gildan is ramping up its new plant in the old PGT building, where 30 people are working and 170 more are expected to be hired in coming months.
Some of those jobs have been posted with the former Employment Security Commission, which is taking applications on behalf of Gildan.
Employment office manager Debbie Davis said the company has not posted any machine operator jobs yet. Davis said she expects those jobs to post in November.
Jobs posted now include roving technicians, card technicians, heat and air conditioning technicians, purchasing analyst, information technology manager, shift manager and cotton receiving coordinator.
People interested in applying first must see if they qualify for the positions. To do that, go to www.ncworks.gov and register. Registered users then can read the job qualifications. The Gildan jobs are listed by type of work, not by the company’s name, Davis said.
Those who qualify to apply for jobs should contact the employment office at 704-639-7529 or go to 1904 S. Main St. in Salisbury to fill out a paper application.
New hires will need training on Gildan’s equipment, regardless of their experience, economic development officials said. But people who have worked in a manufacturing plant will “definitely have an advantage” in landing a job, said Robert Van Geons, executive director for RowanWorks Economic Development Commission.
“They are looking for people who understand the manufacturing environment and have good communication skills,” Van Geons said.
While the textile manufacturing industry was once characterized by heavy labor and lighter equipment, plants like the ones Gildan is proposing are highly technical advanced manufacturing, Van Geons said. The company is looking for employees who can evolve with the industry, he said.
Cheap, reliable energy has drawn Gildan and other manufactures back to the U.S., Bralley said. Davie has been considered by several companies that are interested in relocating manufacturing plants from India and China, he said.
One company wants to manufacture goods in the Southeast U.S. and then ship them back to China, Bralley said.
The low cost of power helped land CPP Global, a manufacturer of packaging products that opened a new plant in Mocksville and created 140 jobs, Bralley said. The company cut about 40 percent off the cost of making its products by relocating to Davie, he said.
Contact reporter Emily Ford at 704-797-4264.