Calhoun County tackles economic development with team sport mentality

The county recently celebrated the expansion of Albany Industries into a 55,000-square-foot former lift chair plant

CALHOUN CITY, Miss. (WCBI) – A business expansion in Calhoun County is another example of a public-private partnership that is producing jobs for local residents.

Albany Industries opened its Calhoun City plant in early January, and business has been brisk.

The stationary furniture maker already had plants in New Albany and Pontotoc but needed more manufacturing and storage space.

“We still have a real healthy backlog, good support from our customers, and our employees,” said Matt Ruth, vice president of operations for Albany Industries.

The Calhoun Economic Development Association, the mayor, and other leaders encouraged Albany Industries to look at this 55,000-square-foot vacant plant, where lift chairs were once made. The building needed a lot of work, but renovations were done with help from the city, the Mississippi Development Authority, and the Appalachian Regional Commission.

The expansion was just one of the highlights celebrated at the recent membership banquet of CEDA. The Association’s executive director, Sheila Freely, said teamwork is vital when it comes to economic development.

“There’s opportunities here, the cost of living is low, our county board works with me with any industry we can bring in, huge sweet potato industry here, we will keep working with our mayors and supervisors to keep growing,” said Freely.

Recruiting new industries and businesses is vital for any town or city. Calhoun City’s mayor said economic development has been his top priority since day one.

“We realized most of our people were leaving out of town, for jobs we wanted to try and keep them here, building a more prosperous town, sustaining, having the things that our constituents need,” said Calhoun City Mayor Marshall Coleman.

Companies like Albany Industries also look to locate where there is a skilled and dependable workforce.

“We’re fortunate enough to have these good employees here in Calhoun City, but New Albany, Pontotoc, every factory, we have the best of the best,” Ruth said.

Right now, there are about 40 employees at the Calhoun City plant, but an expansion could soon be on the horizon.

It is estimated that the payroll at the Albany Industries Calhoun City plant pumps about $3 million into the local economy each year.

For 24/7 news and updates, follow us on Facebook and Twitter

Categories: Featured, Local News