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Thursday February 11th, 2016 4:21PM

EDC, GHCC look ahead to new year year, reflect on 2013

By Staff
GAINESVILLE - The Gainesville-Hall County Economic Development Council (EDC) and the Greater Hall Chamber of Commerce report a successful 2013 with positive trends for 2014, including increased capital expansion, continued job creation, major construction projects in the community and a positive job creation forecast for the next two years.

In 2013, economic development efforts of the EDC and the Greater Hall Chamber assisted 33 existing and new companies with 36 projects to create 950 new jobs and invest $180 million. Several companies had more than one project expansion during the period.

Manufacturing and processing firms that contributed new growth in 2013 represented a diverse mix of businesses including life sciences, automotive, medical devices, international firms, food processing and other broad industry segments. The community's growing life sciences and medical device businesses included expansions by Merial (France), Albert International (Germany) and the growth of a new sector for the South Hall County manufacturer Elringklinger Engineered Plastics (Germany). The life sciences sector added two new production labs with Atlanta Biologicals (Germany) and Aeon Clinical Laboratories, and the new Georgia Poultry Laboratory is set to open in 2014 in the newly developed Gateway Industrial Centre business park. Hall County's growth in the life sciences industry benefits from a strong association with the poultry and food processing industries, as these industries share many support services, cold-chain logistics and demand similar specialized technical skills in quality control for food processing and life sciences.

Food processors Cargill and King's Hawaiian continued to grow, with King's Hawaiian announcing multiple line expansions in the manufacturer's Oakwood Bakery that will be installed between 2014 and 2017 and contribute 481 new jobs in the years to come. Regretfully, Schreiber Foods will cease operations in Gainesville in 2014. The dairy, headquartered in Green Bay, Wisconsin, will consolidate for lower cost operations. At full production, the company employed 250 at the Gainesville plant.

Over half the growing firms the Chamber assisted have a combined location for their business headquarters and operations, and more than 80% of those with their headquarters in Hall County are U.S. subsidiaries of international firms. These included expansions by Bitzer (Germany), American Yazaki (Japan) as well as an additional location by ZF (Germany) and a new location for ALBAForm of the Czech Republic
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