By Hannah Denham
Mohawk Industries Inc. will receive state tax credits and training funds to create new jobs and upgrade manufacturing lines, another signal that the Calhoun, Ga.-based flooring maker is keeping its Glasgow operations open.
Former Gov. Terry McAuliffe approved a five-year $73,000 investment earlier this month, after the company said last month it would spend $10 million to upgrade the plant. The move will create 15 new jobs, but the bigger payoff is job security for the 700 workers already employed at the site.
That’s because the company is upgrading its manufacturing lines and retraining workers. For instance, Mohawk will switch some lines to produce carpet “tiles” instead of massive rolled carpeting, which will be less expensive and easier to install in commercial buildings, said Sam Crickenberger, Rockbridge County director of Community Development.
The Glasgow plant competed against sister locations in South Carolina and Georgia for the parent company’s investment. The maker of the Pergo and Daltile brands of flooring is benefitting from increased global demand for its products. Grand View Research, a San Francisco market research firm, reports that the flooring market will continue to expand, thanks to more construction and remodeling projects.
According to a recent press release, Mohawk will also be eligible to receive sales tax exemptions as part of five-year agreements with the state and Rockbridge County. The company is expected to sign the agreements in the next month.
Crickenberger said the recent investment signals Mohawk intends to stick around Glasgow.
“It gives us the sense of security that they’re here for the long haul,” he said.
The plant has been operating for 83 years and has employed multiple generations of workers.
Amy Ramsey of Buena Vista, a textile operator, said she has worked for the company on and off since 1997. Her husband and father-in-law worked for Mohawk at the time, and now so do her two sons, two daughters-in-law and two nieces.
“My feeling is that if Mohawk wasn’t here, half or more of Rockbridge County would really be hurting,” Ramsey said. “It probably pays a lot of bills.”
Ramsey said when she first found out about the investment through Facebook last week, she asked a supervisor about it the next morning.
“At first, I didn’t think it was true,” she said. “I hope it’s what it says it’s going to be doing.”