HOMER — Banks County spent Monday celebrating Gov. Nathan Deal’s announcement that SELIT North America, a German manufacturer of polystyrene foams, will create 100 jobs and invest $45 million in a new manufacturing facility at Banks Crossing.
The jobs created will include both manufacturing and administrative positions.
Banks County Commission Chairman Jimmy Hooper said Monday morning’s announcement is another step in the right direction for the county and the area.
“Anytime you get a company that’s willing to take a risk and invest their time, their energy, their money, their resources in your county to make things better, it’s a good thing,” Hooper told AccessWDUN. “This will be our second major industry to take place down at our industrial park, with the hopes of an events center coming in the very near future.”
Hooper and other county officials said they most look forward to more job opportunities for those who live in Banks County, including the 70 percent who commute at least 45 minutes one way each day for work.
Since becoming executive director of the Development Authority of Banks County in December, Hannah Mullins has spent most of her time since January working to ensure the SELIT North America project happened.
“For this county, the wage range for this project and the number of jobs and investment that it’s going to bring into the community is tremendous,” Mullins told AccessWDUN. “It’s a great win for me personally, but for the county I’m excited to see what’s going to come out of this partnership with SELIT. I’m more excited to see the lives that will be impacted — those parents that can get jobs and support their families — that’s what means the most to me.”
Based in Germany, SELIT Europe was founded in 1948 and has become Europe’s leader in the production of underlayment foam solutions for floating flooring. Its U.S. affiliate, SELIT North America, is family-owned and holds the largest market share in its North American niche market.
“In choosing Georgia, SELIT North America will enjoy the benefits of the No. 1 state for business, including our logistics infrastructure and a climate conducive to manufacturing,” Deal said in making the announcement. “This facility in Banks County will provide the company with access to a robust workforce and close proximity to the Southeastern market for ideal production conditions and shorter delivery times. I am encouraged to see yet another leading European company locate here, as our efforts to build international relationships continue to translate into real investments. I welcome SELIT North America to Georgia’s growing community of manufacturing companies and wish them great success.”
SELIT NA officials said they are happy to be locating in Banks County.
“We are looking forward to being located even closer to our longstanding customers in the South,” said Marco Seitner, shareholder of Selit NA. “Our product pipeline is full with innovative ideas to add value to the do-it-yourself sector and the flooring industry to the benefit of craft businesses as well as home repairers throughout North America.”
“Georgia, and particularly Banks County, have emerged as our preferred location and partners due to their highly professional approach towards economic development,” said Rouven Seitner, shareholder of SELIT NA. “The strong cultural fit between the Georgian ‘way of doing business’ and our family company with German roots makes us the perfect match.”
Leading up to the governor’s formal announcement, the Development Authority of Banks County and the Banks County Industrial Building Authority held separate, consecutive meetings Monday morning to take care of last-minute details.
To help prepare for the opening of Diana Food and accommodate the additional traffic created by the industrial park and that will be created by SELIT NA, the Georgia Department of Transportation has installed and activated a traffic light on U.S. 441 (Ga. 15) at Faulkner Road to improve safety and traffic flow.
GDOT officials were in Banks County meeting with officials for several hours Thursday to discuss long-term transportation plans for the Banks Crossing area.
SELIT North America, founded in 2010, specializes in the development, production and sales of high-quality polystyrene foams for acoustic and thermal insulation of floating flooring solutions like laminate, parquet and vinyl floors. The company’s product portfolio is tailored toward the needs of do-it-yourself (DIY) end customers and America’s top-tier flooring manufacturers.