Investing $12 million in project
OWENSBORO, Ky. (Sept. 29, 2016) — UniFirst Corp. will invest $12 million in an expansion of its Owensboro distribution center that will add up to 25 jobs in the next three years. UniFirst is one of North America’s largest workwear and textile service companies.
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.
“This addition will allow us to service existing customers more efficiently and effectively as well as accommodate future business growth,” said Dave Roberts, general manager of UniFirst. “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.
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.