Hard work paves way for plant’s salePublished 6:03pm Tuesday, July 8, 2014
While Monday afternoon’s announcement of the pending sale of the Fruit of the Loom garment decoration and screen print operation to Aprinta took some by surprise, it didn’t come without plenty of work behind the scenes.
For several months, local leaders and elected officials have been working to pull all the pieces together and lure Aprinta to Alexander City. While the corporate press release didn’t make mention of it, the deal was the product of an all-out cooperative effort, officials said Tuesday.
The new company will keep the 60 or so employees currently working in the former Russell Plant No. 9 building on the job, but said that as many as 500 new jobs will come over the next four years. Aprinta is one of the leading manufacturers of promotional items in the country, with seven plants currently operating.
Much of that high-tech operation will be coming to Alexander City, Aprinta CEO Billy Dolan said Monday.
Lake Martin Area Economic Development Alliance Executive Director Don McClellan has been a part of the team that helped pitch the area to Aprinta and Dolan.
“It is a situation where everything is a perfect fit,” McClellan said. “He needs what we have, and we need what he has. When I say we – I mean the community. Over the years we have had some things that didn’t always go the way we had hoped, but we are very, very happy about this one.
“We have a partnership with the folks at Russell and the city. Everyone has the welfare of the area in mind. So to see it all taking shape with the kind of people that Aprinta and Billy Dolan have shown to be is very rewarding.”
Details of the package that was put together to entice Aprinta will emerge in time officials said.
But from local governments and utilities to state agencies, local leaders brought them all to the table.
McClellan mentioned the Alabama Department of Commerce and Alabama Industrial Development Training as being a part of the process.
Alexander City Mayor Charles Shaw said Tuesday that while he is still a little hesitant to talk too much about the particulars, a smile came to his face as he talked about the possibilities.
“We are happy to have jobs coming to Alexander City and very happy to have this company coming here,” Shaw said. “When the proper time comes, we will have a lot more to say, but we are exited to have them here. “
The mayor didn’t want to tall tax abatements or other particulars out of respect for Dolan and Aprinta – but said all that will come out in time.
“It’s been a long, process,” Shaw said. “We showed them through building after building sometimes burning up, but I think in time we will all see what a good thing this is for Alexander City and the entire region.”
The news was welcomed and created a buzz on social media as area residents talked about the potential of more jobs.
“This is fantastic news,” Donna Whitehead posted on The Outlook Facebook page. “I grew up here and was part of Russell Corporation when it was at its peak and was devastated when things fell apart. I am very glad for the people of Alex City and for the future for my children here in the Lake Martin area.”