Wrangler plant will be rebuilt
VF Corporation announced Monday night that they will rebuild the Wrangler distribution center in Hackleburg that was destroyed by the April 27 tornado.
One person, Linda Knight, of Phil Campbell, was killed at the site when the EF-5 tornado ripped across Hackleburg before moving into Franklin County and on through Phil Campbell and East Franklin.
The 150 workers of that plant and their families have spent three months wondering what would happen should VF choose not to rebuild. But the concerns raised by state and local officials, as well as Hackleburg residents, were eased late Monday when word came that not only would they rebuild, but also the plant will be expanded.
Company officials said plans are to increase employment by 50 people, from 150 to 200.
The plant will be rebuilt at the site on U.S. 43 where the former distribution center was located. Company officials said groundbreaking will take place sometime early next year and should be completed by 2013.
“The new facility will be larger, more modern and have the potential to handle additional shipping capacity,” said Sam Tucker, vice president of human resources for VF Corp.
“This potential capacity increase could bring about additional jobs to the community.”
The plant had employed 150 people and VF Corp. had continued to provide work for most of the employees since the storm. Employees alternated between working at a VF Corp. plant in Holly Pond and at the company’s old sewing plant in Hackleburg, which had shut down earlier.
Concerned that the company would choose not to rebuild in Hackleburg, officials developed an attractive incentives package to help lure the company back to the area.
City, state and county officials provided an incentive package totaling several million dollars in an effort to keep the company in Hackleburg.
“Today’s news that Wrangler will rebuild in our state could not have come at a better time as communities across Alabama are rebuilding their lives,” Gov. Robert Bentley said in a release late Monday.
“Since April 27, I have worked closely with the Vanity Fair team to encourage them to stay in Hackleburg. This decision is a result of a tremendous team effort involving state and local officials who are committed to putting Alabamians back to work. I want to personally thank VF Corporation CEO Eric Wiseman and let him know that the hard-working men and women of Hackleburg look forward to their first day back at the new Wrangler plant.”