SHANNON, Miss. (WCBI) — For the second time in three days, Lee County leaders announce an economic development project. This time, it’s a German based automotive supplier and as WCBI’s Allie Martin reports, the deal illustrates how being proactive and betting on the future can pay big economic development dividends.
Flanked by U S and German flags and the Mississippi and Bavarian flags, Governor Phil Bryant made an economic development announcement.
“This great company,Grammer, will be bringing their United States headquarters here to Tupelo and Lee County.”
The company will move into and finish out this 75 thousand square foot facility in the Tupelo Lee Industrial Park South.
Plans call for 650 employees to be hired in two phases. Those workers will make automotive interiors and seating systems for commercial vehicles. Grammer will invest 30 million dollars over the next five years.
“The great advantages of Lee county obviously are, the good infrastructure, skilled workforce, with the great college community center. We toured this this morning, we all were very impressed, close proximity to our customers of course.”
Landing this company meant a lot of elected officials, economic developers and many others had to keep a common focus.
“Everyone working together, that’s what impresses our friends from Germany and Japan as they come in and see a collaborative effort from the governor’s office , all the way to city hall, all of us working for the same goal. To put people to work in modern manufacturing jobs.”
There was another factor influencing executives’ decisions, this building was already here. The Community Development Foundation had the building constructed then they marketed it worldwide to potential buyers.
“We felt like the properties we had in Lee County, didn’t serve some of the needs of companies, especially, Grammer for example, worldwide, that need certain specs on a building, so we took that step forward.”
It was a step that has paid off. Grammer executives plan to start production in their Lee County facility by the end of this year.
Grammer employs around 10 thousand workers worldwide. The company has been active in the North American automotive market for more than 35 years.