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Coats PLC opens in Albany

Photo by Laura Williams

Photo by Laura Williams

ALBANY, Ga. -- The CEO of Coats PLC joined elected officials, economic development personnel and employees Friday in cutting the ribbon on a 400,000-square-foot facility in Southeastern Albany --the new home of the company's consolidated North American Distribution Centers.

Friday's ceremony was originally intended to be a small, semi-private affair, but after coming in the midst of the nation's worst economic recession since Black Sunday, job growth of any sort is big news.

"I've been in business long enough to know to expect the unexpected," Forman said. "I came to Georgia expecting to share this accomplishment with just a small group. If this is small group, I'd be troubled to see a large one," he quipped, looking at the roughly 50 employees, elected and community officials on hand.

Forman came from the company's London headquarters to christen his new 280,000 square foot Albany investment off Holly Drive. The company will expand up to 400,000 square feet and add 20 new jobs by the end of the year.

Forman said that he believed it was great that his company could take a former auto-parts distribution center and reinvigorate its space to help provide more jobs and economic opportunities in Albany.

"It's great that we have the opportunity to breathe new life into a facility, to bring a new investment into the community and to add strength and stability to the local economy."

The distribution center will serve as the home to the company's North American Distribution operations after consolidating them into one continental location in Albany.

It augments the Coats & Clark manufacturing center on Clark Avenue where 300 people are employed.

Albany Mayor Willie Adams applauded the company's decision to further invest in Albany and Dougherty County.

"We are always happy when we can add one, two or 30 jobs to our community," Adams said. "We're glad that we're able to welcome Coats & Clark and this distribution center back home."

While economic development officials always keep information about corporate prospects close to the vest, officials with the Albany-Dougherty Economic Development Commission say that Coats corporate representatives were among the participants invited to the 2009 Georgia Quail Hunt. Coats announced its plan to make Albany its North American distribution hub in November 2009.

"Coats & Clark has been a member of Albany-Dougherty County's industrial family for decades. Its investment in our community reaffirms the company's long-term commitment to doing business here," EDC President Ted Clem stated in a press release issued Friday.

Coats officials say that the Albany distribution facility will feature state-of-the-art equipment, including the latest technology in bar coding, radio frequency, in-line pallet preparation and conveyor systems.

Coats & Clark is a division of the world's largest thread manufacturing company, Coats PLC, which employs more than 21,000 employees in 71 countries.

The company has been in business for more than 200 years.