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EP American Footwear will open its first footwear manufacturing facility in Hazlehurst, Georgia, creating 250 jobs and investing up to $10 million.

Gov. Nathan Deal announced today that EP American Footwear (EPAF), LLC, will open its first footwear manufacturing facility in Hazlehurst, Ga., creating 250 jobs and investing up to $10 million over the next 36 months.

“Georgia’s strong manufacturing infrastructure helps companies such as EP American Footwear thrive and grow,” said Deal. “The company’s new facility reflects how Georgia’s competitive assets can yield economic gains for the local community.” – Governor Nathan Deal

The 13-acre facility, previously occupied by Alco Controls and the Emerson Electric Corporation, will re-open its doors for EPAF in 2014 and restore 20 percent of the total Jeff Davis County jobs lost since 2000. EP American Footwear’s new facility will manufacture four million pairs of shoes annually, reaching major retailers across the U.S. The project will provide shoes to Walmart and support Walmart’s commitment to encouraging the creation of more jobs and domestic manufacturing.

“We are excited to bring manufacturing back to the USA and specifically Hazlehurst,” said Joe Russell, Co-CEO of EPAF. “EPAF will be the largest molded footwear facility in the nation and this will be the first large volume footwear manufacturer to produce shoes in the U.S. in quite a few years. We chose Hazlehurst as our location primarily due to the local workforce who lost their jobs during the exodus of from years past.”

EPAF will also utilize Georgia Quick Start, the nation’s top workforce training program, to provide customized training for its new employees. The company received assistance from numerous state and local economic development partners. Project Manager Ryan Waldrep assisted the company on behalf of the Georgia Department of Economic Development.

“This location is coming to fruition thanks to cooperation from the Joint Development Authority of Jeff Davis County, Hazlehurst and the Denton, Georgia, the Georgia Department of Economic Development and Georgia Power,” said Ray Wooten, Jeff Davis County Commission Chairman. “We look forward to working with EP American Footwear, LLC for many years to come.”

“EP American Footwear’s decision to locate in Jeff Davis County is a turning point for the region, which has been disproportionately affected by joblessness over the course of the last decade,” said Pat Wilson, chief operating officer of the Georgia Department of Economic Development. “The company will provide new jobs and opportunity to a workforce that is already well-versed in manufacturing operations.”

About EP American Footwear, LLC:  EP American Footwear, LLC, is a partnership between Elan Polo, a leading global provider of non-branded footwear, and McPherson Manufacturing, provider of contract assembly and manufacturing services.

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