Tennessee expands its presence in automotive and shoe manufacturing

Tennessee is home to a new shoe factory, part of a revival of the shoe manufacturing industry. The factory is owned by Hong Kong-based Merchant House International, which recently expanded to the U.S. to begin producing a line of work boots, according to The Wall Street Journal. The shoe industry is seeing a revival in the U.S. Although the U.S. currently owns 2 percent of the market for shoes, two years ago it owned only 1 percent. The U.S. is benefiting from changes in the way companies are being cost effective. It makes more sense to use American leather goods to produce shoes in the U.S. instead of shipping the leather to China and then sending the finished goods back.

Merchant House International spent $5 million on its factory in Tennessee, although it plans to double that amount over the next two years. It currently employs 50 people, but that number will increase as well, according to the Journal

The owner, Loretta Lee says that producing in China is becoming expensive, and that it is easier for her to create finished goods closer to the market where they will be sold.

U.S. factories have more sophisticated technology than factories in China, according to Lee. The factory in Tennessee uses specialized machines to improve productivity. However, all of the cutting and sewing of the leather is done by hand.

ABC Group investing $25.5 to expand Tennessee manufacturing hub
In another example of manufacturing investments in Tennessee, ABC group, an automotive systems manufacturer, will begin growing its Gallatin facility in Sumner County. The company plans to add an additional 180,000 square feet to the factory because of the increasing market demand for its products. The expansion will create 250 new jobs over the next five years.

ABC Group is a world leader in vertically integrated plastic processing, which means it owns the methods of production from the very beginning stages of processing plastic to the very end.

"ABC is not just investing in bricks and mortar in order to increase our global footprint, we believe the key to our continued competitive success is through advanced product development, continuous improvement in our facilities and the training and development of our employees," said Mary Anne Bueschkens, president and general counsel of ABC Group.

Tennessee is the biggest state for production of automotive manufacturing, according to Sumner Country Community Development Commissioner Bill Hagerty. Jo Anne Graves, mayor of Gallatin, where the factory is located, expressed that she was pleased the company had chosen to expand its factory and increase the number of jobs it would support.

Those seeking to find the best candidates for their expanding factories should contact manufacturing recruiters for assistance.