Gildan Yarns announces second Rowan facility

Gov. Pat McCrory and Gildan President Chuck Ward watch RowanWorks Executive Director Robert Van Geons speak at Tuesday's press conference in Mocksville. Gildan announced its intent to expand into Rowan and Davie counties.
Gov. Pat McCrory and Gildan President Chuck Ward watch RowanWorks Executive Director Robert Van Geons speak at Tuesday's press conference in Mocksville. Gildan announced its intent to expand into Rowan and Davie counties.

SALISBURY — Gildan Yarns announced Tuesday it will open a second facility in Rowan County, boosting the company's employment numbers to nearly 400 by December 2015.

Gildan Yarns President Chuck Ward said the company will create about 184 jobs, with another 39 spin-off jobs, to fill a planned 500,000-square-foot facility near PGT's old plant on Heilig Road.

Ward appeared along with Gov. Pat McCrory at a press conference in Mocksville on Tuesday. McCrory touted the expansion as a “come back” for the state's manufacturing industry.

The T-shirt and underwear maker agreed to the $43 million yarn-spinning plant on Heilig Road in 2012. Thirty jobs have been hired for that plant and Ward said he expects another 170 to be filled in the next six months.

The additional jobs at the second plant are expected to have an average wage of $32,279 per year.

Ward said tax rates, incentives and RowanWorks Executive Director Robert Van Geons helped spur the expansion.

“We worked well with Robert and his team, and the county commissioners were supportive of that first project,” Ward said. “And again we looked at the qualified workforce, the available energy and the good rates and the available transportation and it seemed like a good fit for Gildan. So we decided to do that. It just makes sense to expand with the available land behind us. It makes sense to expand some of that additional operation there.”

McCrory's announcement came less than a day after Rowan and Davie commissioners agreed to millions of dollars in incentives for the company.

“Apparel manufacturers, like Gildan, are further investing in North American operations, and North Carolina is just the place for their company to succeed with that,” McCrory said.

Rowan agreed to sell the 26.6 acres of property for $1 and will pay about $4.2 million in grants. Van Geons said the county is expected to collect an estimated $7.8 million, with about $3.5 million as new revenue.

Lawmakers, county leaders and businesses executives turned out for the 2:30 p.m. conference inside a Davie County Community College presentation room.

N.C. Rep. Harry Warren, of Salisbury, Rowan commissioners Craig Pierce and Jon Barber and others were in attendance.

With new local jobs, Van Geons said, some Rowan residents that commute to textile jobs out of the county can work closer to home.

“Gildan has embraced new technology as a differentiating competitive force,” Van Geons said. “They are looking ahead of the curve so they can not only compete, but prosper, with U.S. and N.C. manufacturing. They are giving these two counties an opportunity for people to work closer to home and to have a chance at advancement in their careers.”

Pierce said Gildan's job creation can help the local economy by creating revenue and needs for more jobs.

“I hope this is an indication that the citizens of Rowan County realize that we are ready for business and that we will do what's necessary to make sure Rowan County continues to grow and prosper,” Pierce said, “and that if incentives have to be issued to make that happen then the majority of the board is willing to do that so that we'll have a better future for Rowan County.”

Pierce was one of the four who agreed to Gildan's proposed incentives plan at Monday night's meeting.

Chairman Jim Sides, who did not attend the conference, voted against the measure.

Sides said the county did not need to give land away to attract business, but also criticized Gildan's incentives proposal and the hiring process for the company.

When asked if the comments affected his decision to build the Rowan facility, Ward shrugged off the remarks.

“We appreciate the support of the commissioners that gave us the support and we're glad to be going to Rowan County,” he said.

Contact reporter Nathan Hardin at 704-797-4246.

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