Food & Beverage

Apr 12, 2022

CHA Region Entrepreneurial Success Stories Featuring Coca Asante

Cocoa Asante

Cocoa Asante is a Chattanooga-based premium chocolate company that handcrafts bonbons and bars using cocoa beans sourced from Ghana. They’re currently located inside of the Business Development Center through a program called The Incubator which houses Entrepreneurs and Start-Ups that are in the early stage startup stage and are looking to grow a profitable business. Click here to learn more about the Incubator and how you can join their 3-year program. Watch this video to learn more about Ella and how the Incubators program has been assisting her in growing her business.

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Location Advantages

Apr 06, 2022

Chattanooga Foreign Trade Zone Annual Report States Billions in Zone Related to Economic Activity.

Foreign Trade Zones pic

Chattanooga, Tenn. (April 4, 2022) – The Chattanooga Chamber Foundation, grantee of the Chattanooga Foreign Trade Zone, announced economic activity in the Chattanooga Zone for 2021. The total Zone related employment is 4,592, Zone related economic activity was $4.2 billion, and Zone related exports are valued at $570 million.

“Since the mid-80’s the Chattanooga Foreign Trade Zone has been instrumental in creating and sustaining good manufacturing jobs and creating value for companies that are in the program,” stated Steve Hiatt, Director of Existing Business Development for the Chattanooga Area Chamber of Commerce. “A company does not have to be a large employer to take advantage of Foreign Trade Zone opportunities.  Companies in the Chattanooga Foreign Trade Zone have as few as 25 employees and as many as 3,500.”

The purpose of Foreign Trade Zones is to stimulate international trade and to increase employment and investment in our region and beyond. Location in a Foreign Trade Zone allows manufacturing and distribution operations to enjoy relief from various customs fees and regulations including:

  • Reduce or even eliminate duties on manufactured goods
  • Reduce importing fees, such as Merchandise Processing fees and Brokerage fees
  • Gain duty exemption on re-exports
  • Eliminate duties on waste, scrap, and production yield loss
  • Avoid inventory taxes while in the Zone
  • Enhance supply chain performance

“The Chattanooga Foreign Trade Zone has been a valuable tool that Sofix utilizes to reduce customs duty liability on imported raw materials as well as adding efficiencies to our inventory tracking processes,” stated Paul Cahill, President of Sofix.

The Chattanooga Foreign Trade Zone includes 10 counties in Southeast Tennessee and one county in Mid-South Tennessee and is managed by the Chattanooga Chamber by Steve Hiatt. For more information, please visit the Chamber’s website: https://www.chattanoogachamber.com/why-chattanooga/existing-business-support/existing-business-resources Since 2015, the Chattanooga Chamber has assisted with new business locations and expansions totaling over $2.5 billion in investments and 9,000 jobs.

 

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Advanced Manufacturing

Mar 28, 2022

Counties and Smaller Cities Around Chattanooga are Magnets for Manufacturing

Top TN City

When Tennessee’s economic developers began recruiting Finland-based Nokian Tyres, they started with 80 sites. Among the reasons the tire maker decided to put its only plant in the United States in Dayton, Tennessee, a few years ago was the large flat greenfield site, nearby U.S. 27, and proximity to a population center such as Chattanooga, according to Nokian. The $360 million Southeast Tennessee facility opened in fall 2019. Nokian plans to hire about 400 employees by 2023 to produce tires and oversee operations at the Dayton factory. Officials eventually want to make as many as 4 million tires per year at the facility.

Tennessee Gov. Bill Lee, who made a part of his election campaign the effort to bring more development to rural counties, said during the $360 million factory’s opening that it will “change the landscape of this community for a long time.”

Small cities circling Chattanooga such as Dayton have scored big when it comes to manufacturing in recent years. Just last December, Walker County, Georgia’s biggest employer unveiled plans to get even larger. GE Appliances Roper Corp., which makes ovens and stoves, is investing another $118 million with plans to hire 646 more workers in the next couple of years. That will put the factory outside LaFayette at nearly 2,700 workers at its sprawling 1.2 million-square-foot facility.

Click here to read more.

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Feb 21, 2022

GE Appliances Announces $118 Million Investment At Its Roper Corporation Plant in Georgia

GE Appliances

LAFAYETTE, Ga. (BUSINESS WIRE) GE Appliances (GEA), a Haier company, today announced plans to invest more than $118 million to grow its cooking appliances business by expanding capacity and developing new cooking products at its wholly-owned subsidiary Roper Corporation in LaFayette, Ga. The expansion will add more than 600 new jobs by the end of 2024.

“Investing in U.S. manufacturing allows us to be closer to our consumers and serve them better and faster, which is critical to GE Appliances’ business strategy,” said Bill Good, vice president of manufacturing for GE Appliances. “Our partnership with Georgia is strong and getting stronger as we continue to build innovative, industry-first cooking products at Roper.”

Click here to read more!

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County Spotlight

Feb 21, 2022

Catoosa County Breaks Ground for College and Career Academy: Two-Story, 80,000-Square-Foot Building Scheduled to Be Completed August 2023

Nearly 300 people — elected officials, business leaders, community members, students, and school employees — turned out for the ground-breaking for Catoosa County’s College and Career Academy on Friday, Oct. 22.

“It was a great day to celebrate this new opportunity for our students and our community,” School Superintendent Denia Reese said.

The From HERE to CAREER College and Career Academy will serve juniors and seniors from the county’s three high schools: Lakeview-Fort Oglethorpe, Heritage and Ringgold. Students who attend this school will graduate with college credit and technical college certificates to be prepared for good-paying high-demand careers in our region. This school will benefit students and local businesses by providing a talent pipeline for their continued economic prosperity.

Click here to learn more!

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Dec 13, 2021

West Star Aviation to Expand Operations in Chattanooga

West Star Aviation

Governor Lee, Commissioner Rolfe Announce West Star Aviation to Expand Operations in Chattanooga 

  • Full-service aircraft maintenance, repair, and overhaul company to invest $17 million in facility expansion
  • The project represents the creation of 100 new jobs in Hamilton County

Chattanooga, Tenn. (December 13, 2021) – Tennessee Gov. Bill Lee, Department of Economic and Community Development Commissioner Bob Rolfe and West Star Aviation officials announced today the company will invest $17 million to expand its existing operations at the Chattanooga Metropolitan Airport (KCHA).

West Star, full-service aircraft maintenance, repair, and overhaul (MRO) company, will create 100 new jobs through the expansion, which comes six years after the company established its Chattanooga operations.

West Star will retrofit one of its existing hangars to include a new design studio and will oversee the construction of a new 40,000-square-foot hangar with an additional 17,000 square feet of flooring to accommodate West Star’s shop and support base for its growing client pool.

Founded in 1947, West Star offers avionics installation, certification, and repair for all major manufacturers, used and surplus avionics sales and exchanges, parts and accessory overhaul repair, custom paint, interior design, major modification, and refurbishment. Since acquiring its Chattanooga operations in 2015, West Star has expanded its employment at the Chattanooga Metropolitan Airport (CHA) to more than 200 people.

In the last five years, TNECD has supported more than 30 economic development projects in Hamilton County resulting in nearly 5,500 job commitments and approximately $1.7 billion in capital investment.

QUOTES

“West Star’s expansion and investment in Tennessee strengthens our state’s position in the aerospace industry. These 100 new jobs will provide additional opportunities to our highly-skilled workforce, and I thank West Star for its continued commitment to Hamilton County.” – Gov. Bill Lee

“We appreciate West Star for its $17 million investment and for contributing to Chattanooga’s business landscape. This project would not be possible without strong leadership and partnership at the local level, and we would like to thank Hamilton County Mayor Jim Coppinger, Chattanooga Mayor Tim Kelly, and Chattanooga Airport Authority for being key drivers in making this win possible for Hamilton County.” – TNECD Commissioner Bob Rolfe 

“Hamilton County’s continuing goal is to strengthen business retention, expansion, and recruitment initiatives, West Star’s 17 million dollar expansion proves we’re on the right track,” says Hamilton County Mayor Jim Coppinger. “We are delighted with these additional 100 jobs that this expansion will bring to our community.”– Hamilton County Mayor Jim Coppinger.

“West Star Aviation’s expansion is a sign of our Airport’s critical role as an anchor for Chattanooga’s continued prosperity,” said Mayor Tim Kelly. “In addition to our thriving freight and logistics industry, the Scenic City is becoming a hub for corporate and leisure travel. Companies like West Star are rising to meet this exciting and essential moment for the greater-Chattanooga region.” – Chattanooga Mayor Tim Kelly

“The local community and development programs have been a key part of aiding in the growth of West Star in the Chattanooga area. We are excited about the opportunity to continue to grow and add to the local workforce while expanding our facilities. We look forward to the long-term partnership with TNECD and appreciate the support of the aerospace industry in Tennessee.” – Jim Rankin, CEO, West Star Aviation

“West Star has been a great partner, and their choice to expand in Chattanooga is a significant investment in our airport and our community,” said Terry Hart, president, and CEO of the Chattanooga Airport. “The Chattanooga Airport is an economic driver, and this expansion will bring in even more companies and added jobs, leading to additional spending in our region.” – Terry Hart, president, and CEO of the Chattanooga Airport

“West Star’s expansion supports our initiative to empower our economy with high-paying jobs. We congratulate them on their continued success.” – Chattanooga City Councilman Isaiah Hester, District 5

“We have seen enormous growth in the small amount of time we have been a part of the community and are thrilled with the announcement of our expansion to add even more jobs to the area. Chattanooga has provided West Star with tremendous support through the development programs, allowing for the continued growth in the area.” – Steve Goede, general manager, West Star Aviation

“TVA and EPB congratulate West Star on its decision to expand operations and create new job opportunities in Chattanooga. It’s always an exciting day when we can celebrate a company’s commitment to continued growth in the Valley. We are pleased to partner with the Tennessee Department of Economic and Community Development to help support companies like West Star Aviation’s continued success in the region and celebrate this announcement together.” – John Bradley, TVA senior vice president of Economic Development 

“West Star Aviation’s commitment to our community is confirmation of the company’s ability to recruit great talent to our region,” says Charles Wood. This expansion represents the continued diversification to our regional economy. “ – Charles Wood, Vice President of Economic Development for the Chattanooga Area Chamber of Commerce.

“Congratulations to West Star Aviation on this expansion. This company plays an important role in the transportation industry in Chattanooga, and I am glad they have been successful here and are able to create new jobs for Chattanoogans. I am proud to support a business-friendly environment in Tennessee with low taxes and less regulation that helps businesses like West Star Aviation thrive. I look forward to their continued growth and success.” – Sen. Bo Watson (R-Hixson)

“With a multi-talented workforce, business-friendly environment, and central location, Hamilton County is the ideal setting for companies to expand. West Star Aviation has been a great community partner and I look forward to working with them in the future to bring more jobs to the Chattanooga area.” – Rep. Greg Vital (R-Harrison)

Since 2015, the Chattanooga chamber has assisted with new business locations and expansions totaling over $2.3 billion in investments and over 7,500 jobs.

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Back Office

Nov 10, 2021

Chattanooga-Based Homeserve Prepares to Add 150 More Workers!

Nearly four years after HomeServe USA built a $5.5 million call center in Chattanooga, most of the hundreds of work cubicles in the 46,000-square-foot complex are now vacant.

But the empty desks in the two-story office on Lee Highway near Shallowford Road don’t mean the home warranty company isn’t growing or won’t soon fill those seats.

In fact, HomeServe is seeking to add up to 150 more jobs to its existing 600-employee staff in Chattanooga over the next couple of months and is busy conducting training courses for additional customer service and sales workers needed to handle the growing business. READ MORE HERE

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Minnesota Manufacturer Expands to Pikeville, Tennessee, With $11.6 Million Investment

A 32-year-old, family-owned manufacturer of skid steer attachments is expanding production outside of its rural Minnesota plant for the first time with plans to retrofit an abandoned tool and die plant in Pikeville, Tennessee.

Virnig Manufacturing Inc. announced Monday it will invest $11.6 million to renovate and equip the former Eclipse plant on Allen Deakins Road in Pikeville and create 74 jobs.

“We’re moving equipment in next week,” said Lois Virnig, who co-founded the company with her husband Dean in 1989. “We hope to be in production by January.”

Virnig will fabricate, weld, paint, assemble and ship the same products in the 62,000-square-foot Pikeville plant that it does at its corporate headquarters in Rice, Minnesota, where the company currently has 180 employees. Click this link to learn more! 

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