Hundreds of jobs expected at new Opelika plant

Gov. Robert Bentley, seen through a camera monitor, announces new jobs coming to Opelika.
Gov. Robert Bentley, seen through a camera monitor, announces new jobs coming to Opelika.

OPELIKA, AL (WSFA) - Governor Robert Bentley along with Alabama Development Office director Greg Canfield announced the creation 280 new jobs coming to Opelika.

"This is a wonderful day" Gov. Bentley said.

Pharmavite, a Northern California based vitamin and supplement manufacturer decided to open its new production facility in Lee County, which will break ground before the end of the year.

Mark Walsh, the Chief Operating Officer of Pharmavite spoke at the event held at Opelika City Hall.

"We evaluated several locations in the eastern United States and it became very clear that Opelika was the best fit for our needs" Walsh said in front of a room of about 100 people including Speaker of the House Mike Hubbard (R – Lee).

Nature Made, one of Pharmavite's lines of supplements will be manufactured in the Opelika facility. Walsh said the company will produce tablets and soft-gels in Alabama.

Gov. Bentley said, "Last week we talked about cars made in Alabama, and now we can talk about vitamins made in Alabama," alluding to President Obama's jobs speech when he left out that international car companies manufacture them in the United States.

According to Canfield, the ADO Director, Pharmavite will invest an initial $74 million in the project with possibly more in later years. He said Opelika would specifically see a $21 million economic development boost by the project.

"Days like these make me very proud to have my job" Canfield said following the event.

The governor and Canfield each talked about the simple positive factor that any new jobs were coming to Alabama given the country's dire economic climate. Alabama's unemployment rate has slowly increased to the 10% range in the last six months.

"While other states are losing jobs, Alabama is gaining jobs" Gov. Bentley said.

Rep. Mike Hubbard who represents the district where the new Pharmavite will be built said he was particularly proud because the new facility will impact his constituents.

"This is a huge day" Rep. Hubbard said. "There's nothing more important in the state of Alabama than creating jobs and bringing in industry and having existing industries expand."

Pharmavite will begin by hiring some management positions during the time of the construction of the new facility and will fill the rest of the available positions soon after.

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