Just in time for Christmas, an Illinois-based textile manufacturer and distributor has decided to locate a plant in Mount Airy that will provide 37 jobs with an average annual salary of $56,041.
Willow Tex LLC, which manufactures synthetic leather that is supplied to aviation and other markets, will occupy the former Harvest Time Bread Co. facility in Piedmont Triad West Corporate Park off U.S. 601.
Its decision to locate a facility here came two weeks after Mount Airy officials approved an incentive $342,188 package for the company headquartered in Rockford, Ill. Earlier, the county board of commissioners also had given its approval to incentives.
The successful recruitment of Willow Tex was announced Thursday by Gov. Bev Perdue. The project was made possible in part by a $130,000 grant from the One North Carolina Fund, which provides financial assistance, through local governments, to attract business projects that will stimulate economic activity and create new jobs in the state.
A company official said he is looking forward to opening the plant, which will be revamped for its new use with the help of a building re-use and restoration grant from the North Carolina Rural Center.
“Willow Tex is pleased to join the Mount Airy, Surry County community,” said Drew Clabough, general manager for Willow Tex. “We look forward to a long, mutually beneficial relationship with our employees and neighbors.”
Willow Tex manufactures and distributes high-quality, synthetic leather that is sold to the contract design, marine and aviation markets. The company owns the trademark rights to IZIT Leather and the multiple product lines branded IZIT. These leather products are known for their durability, flammability performance, leather-like appearance and suppleness.
Salaries paid to Willow Text employees will vary by job function, but the average annual wage for the new jobs will be $56,041 plus benefits. Surry County’s average annual wage is $29,484.
Local officials and citizens had said at a recent public hearing regarding the city incentives that the company offered a chance to return a degree of textile manufacturing to a community that has lost thousands of those jobs since 2000.
“This is an excellent project for Surry County,” said Rep. Sarah Stevens of Mount Airy, a member of the N.C. General Assembly. “Willow Tex could have located this facility anywhere, but clearly our business climate and skilled workforce makes North Carolina the best choice.”
More details will appear in Friday’s print edition of The Mount Airy News in addition to mtairynews.com.