Aug 12 2008

But not in Blount County. Newell Rubbermaid Office Product group, the world's largest manufacturer of ink for writing instruments, and the Industrial Board of Coffee County, Tenn., announced today that they have reached an agreement for the company to acquire a 60-acre site to build a new state-of-the-art ink manufacturing facility in Coffee County's Interstate Industrial Park in Manchester.

The new ink facility will represent a $12.5 million capital investment by Newell Rubbermaid for building and land improvements and equipment. Design and testing of inks, ink manufacturing and storage of finished goods will be handled at the facility, which will supply the company's nearby writing instrument manufacturing facilities in Tennessee as well as its operations in Europe, Latin America and Asia.

"For decades, Newell Rubbermaid has had a considerable presence in middle and east Tennessee, where we manufacture well-known products like Sharpie(R) markers and highlighters and other office products, and we are excited to be expanding our position in the community," said Howard Heckes, president of Newell Rubbermaid's Markers, Highlighters & Art Products global business unit. "By locating our new facility here, in close proximity to other Newell Rubbermaid Office Products operations, we are well positioned to maintain our sustainable competitive advantage as the world's largest manufacturer of ink for writing instruments."

"This announcement reflects the confidence that Newell Rubbermaid has in the Coffee County workforce, and I'm very pleased to see the company's continued investment in Tennessee," said Tennessee Governor Phil Bredesen. "This announcement speaks well of our hard work to make Tennessee competitive in the global marketplace and to create a pro-business environment in which companies can thrive."

The company's existing ink facility in Shelbyville has approximately 60 employees, and these employees are expected to transfer to the new location in Manchester. Additional jobs are expected to be added during the next three years.

"Newell Rubbermaid's announcement offers great job opportunities for residents of Coffee County and surrounding communities," said John Bradley, senior vice president of economic development for the Tennessee Valley Authority, which played a role in assisting Newell Rubbermaid with site selection. "We are glad to partner with state and community organizations and local providers, such as Duck River Electric Membership Corporation, to provide quality services to Newell Rubbermaid as they grow in the years to come."

Bill Comer, chairman of the Industrial Board of Coffee County, added, "The Industrial Board of Coffee County is pleased to partner with Newell Rubbermaid to bring this state-of-the art development and manufacturing facility to our Interstate Industrial Park. We are excited about the boost to our community's economy that will result from additional high-quality jobs, increased spending in the community by new employees and company visitors, and increased tax revenue. Additionally, the Newell Rubbermaid operation will enhance the position of our county's industrial base in both national and international markets."

Newell Rubbermaid will break ground for the new ink manufacturing facility in November. The project is expected to be completed and the facility operational in December 2009. In the meantime, ink production will continue as usual at the company's Shelbyville facility.

In sharp contrast, the company eliminated 200 employees at its Blount Co. facilities in April of this year. The jobs were moved to Texas and Ohio. Blount County Mayor Jerry Cunningham said he was "blindsided" by the news.

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