FRANKFORT, Ky. (Sept. 29, 2016) – Gov. Matt Bevin today announced UniFirst Corp., one of North America’s largest workwear and textile service companies, will add up to 25 jobs to support a $12 million expansion of its Owensboro distribution center.
“The growth of UniFirst in Owensboro shows that forward-thinking companies in Kentucky are receiving the resources they need to expand. We are grateful for their continued investment in the Commonwealth,” Gov. Bevin said. “We extend our congratulations to the company’s local and national management teams and look forward to their continued success.”
The project will add 40,000 square feet to UniFirst’s existing building to total approximately 360,000 square feet of production, packing, office and shipping space. Installing state-of-the art technology will allow UniFirst to process greater volumes of goods, afford faster and more accurate response times, and further improve customer service to its 300 business customers coast-to-coast while maintaining quality. The company plans to add up to 25 employees in the next three years.
“This addition will allow us to service existing customers more efficiently and effectively as well as accommodate future business growth,” said UniFirst General Manager Dave Roberts. “When we embarked on this expansion process, we looked at several options including expanding here, in other locations, or building a new facility elsewhere. Ultimately, the advantages of growing here in Owensboro – the region’s workforce, leveraging the economies of scale and building on the connection we already have with the community – made the most sense.”
Established in 1998, the Daviess County distribution and order-fulfillment center employs about 375 people, making and distributing shirts, pants, jackets, caps and safety items. The facility brands and supplies those items for global corporations.
Based in Wilmington, Mass., UniFirst ranks as one of the nation’s largest textile-service companies. Founded in Boston in 1936, UniFirst now employs more than 12,500 people and provides managed uniform, protective clothing and custom corporate image apparel to a variety of industries. It outfits more than 1.5 million workers at 300,000 business locations from 240 facilities throughout the U.S., Canada and Europe.
Last week, UniFirst purchased Detroit-based competitor Arrow Uniforms in a $122 million cash deal. The acquisition will help UniFirst enter new markets and create additional demand for its products and services.
Sen. Joe Bowen, of Owensboro, welcomed the growth of a longtime manufacturer.
“This planned expansion by UniFirst highlights its success across nearly two decades in Owensboro,” Sen. Bowen said. “My colleagues and I are working hard – whether through energy policy, interaction with local governments or enhancing Kentuckians’ quality of life – to continue making our Commonwealth a premier state for business. The outcome of those efforts is seen when high-quality companies like UniFirst decide to reinvest and grow in Kentucky.”
Rep. Suzanne Miles, of Owensboro, said UniFirst’s new investment will continue propelling the region’s economy upward.
“Business growth and investment in the Greater Owensboro area provides jobs our workers and families need,” Rep. Miles said. “I thank UniFirst and its management for expanding their facility and increasing their commitment to the people and the future of this wonderful region of the state.”
Owensboro Mayor Ron Payne said the new investment and jobs show UniFirst believes the city is and will continue to be a great location for its business.
“UniFirst is such an incredible employer, and we are excited that they have decided to expand, right here in Owensboro,” Mayor Payne said. “It displays a confidence in our community and in our people that cannot be understated. The City Commissioners and I are pleased to see the new opportunities this expansion means for UniFirst and its employees.”
Daviess County Judge-Executive Al Mattingly said the new project provides economic momentum.
“UniFirst is a fantastic employer of many citizens in Daviess County,” Judge Mattingly said. “This expansion and investment in new equipment is also an investment in our community. We are pleased that UniFirst continues to see our region and its workforce as keys to UniFirst’s future growth and success.”
To encourage the investment and job growth in the community, the Kentucky Economic Development Finance Authority (KEDFA) in September preliminarily approved UniFirst for tax incentives up to $500,000 through the Kentucky Business Investment program based on the company’s investment of up to $12 million and creation of up to 25 jobs. The performance-based incentive allows a company to keep a portion of its investment over the agreement term through corporate income tax credits and wage assessments by meeting job and investment targets.
In addition, UniFirst can receive resources from the Kentucky Skills Network. Through the Kentucky Skills Network, companies can receive no-cost recruitment and job placement services, reduced-cost customized training and job training incentives. Last year, the Kentucky Skills Network trained more than 84,000 employees from more than 5,600 Kentucky companies.
For more information on UniFirst, visit www.UniFirst.com.
A detailed community profile for Daviess County can be viewed at http://bit.ly/DaviessCoKy.
The Kentucky Cabinet for Economic Development is the primary state agency responsible for encouraging new jobs and investment in the state. New capital investment announced in Kentucky in 2015 totaled a state record $5.1 billion, spurring more than 16,000 projected new jobs. Information on available industrial properties, workforce development assistance, incentive programs, community profiles, small business development and other economic development resources is available at www.ThinkKentucky.com.