Tuesday June 15, 2004
Carmen Hickerson (502) 625-0204 Rebecca Fleischaker Couch (502) 574-2974
Officials from the North Atlantic Trading Company announced today it will consolidate its manufacturing operations at the company's National Tobacco distribution facility, providing an economic boost to the West Louisville community. This announcement was made at a press conference at its West Muhammad Ali Boulevard facilities. In attendance were officials from Louisville Metro Government, the Commonwealth of Kentucky and Greater Louisville Inc. - The Metro Chamber of Commerce.
Over the next three years, the consolidation of the manufacturing operations will create up to 58 new jobs, with a projected payroll of approximately $2.4 million. In addition, this decision allows the company to retain the 155 employees currently working at this facility. Further, the company will invest up to $24.6 million over this same timeframe to expand and upgrade its facilities, which currently total 600,000 square feet.
"National Tobacco's expansion in Louisville is good, not only for our entire community, but especially for West Louisville, which has historically been home to industrial and manufacturing businesses in the core of our community," said Mayor Jerry E. Abramson. "This announcement emphasizes our belief that Louisville has the workforce, infrastructure and business-to-business connections to continue to be a great place to do business."
Following the announcement of its acquisition of Stoker, Inc. in November 2003, North Atlantic Trading Company advised the Kentucky Economic Development Finance Authority that it was reviewing Louisville as the possible site for the consolidation of all manufacturing operations. This consolidation will require the immediate creation of 36 jobs as well as an investment of up to $8 million. This investment will allow the company to upgrade and expand its facilities to accommodate its projected manufacturing needs.
David Brunson, president and chief financial officer of North Atlantic Trading Company said the "investment in our Louisville manufacturing facility is as exciting for our employees as it is for the city of Louisville, which has seen a significant number of tobacco job losses over the last 10 years. We have carefully reviewed our manufacturing options, and have decided that Kentucky, with its strong economic support package, creates for us a business environment in which we can grow and prosper. By expanding our manufacturing base in Louisville, we expect to be able to integrate our manufacturing activities across our companies, as well as provide support for our growing distribution activities."
Based on its detailed plans, National Tobacco has received KEDFA approval for up to $2 million in state incentives. In all, National Tobacco will receive roughly $3.8 million in state and local incentives.
A breakdown of the incentives is listed on the accompanying fact sheet.
"I am pleased to hear that the North Atlantic Trading Company is expanding its National Tobacco distribution site in West Louisville," stated Governor Ernie Fletcher. "Louisville has long been an important economic engine for our Commonwealth, and it is vitally important that we continue our emphasis on creating jobs and economic opportunity for every Kentuckian."
National Tobacco, which produces and distributes loose-leaf chewing tobacco and make-your-own tobacco products, is the second major West Louisville expansion in the last year. Last summer, Parallel Products invested $2 million to expand its Bernheim Lane facility and create 50 new jobs. GLI and Louisville leaders have been working closely with West Louisville businesses for the past two years by identifying opportunities for growth within the community and helping those businesses with their expansion plans.
"We believe that by strengthening West Louisville's existing businesses, it will help bring new business into the community," said Steve Higdon, GLI's president and CEO. "Previous studies have indicated that West Louisville has opportunities for growth based on its easy access to the interstate highways, the Ohio River and railroads. In addition, there's an available workforce that would be difficult to find elsewhere."