A paper company snipped a ribbon to mark the opening of a new facility Monday, June 13, bringing 196 jobs to the new $7.3-million Norcross site.
Bagcraft Papercon, a subsidiary of Packaging Dynamics, will close its 120,000- square-foot Atlanta location with the expansion to the facility on Best Friend Road, which is nearly double the size at 225,000 square feet.
The company makes customized wax coated papers that are used for everything from the lining in a basket of Applebee’s chicken fingers to the wrapping on a Jersey Mike’s sub sandwich.
Plant Manager Rob Bullock said that the company finally decided on the Norcross location after looking at 60 to 80 other sites because it has good transportation access and it is close enough to the Apple Valley Road facility in Brookhaven to keep the existing workforce. The company will hire 50 to 60 people in the next month or so as well.
The jobs will include everything from machine operators to materials handlers, like forklift drivers, to inspector-packers.
“What we did was extraordinary,” said Dean Vice, VP of Operations for Packing Dynamics, in a talk with company leaders and local officials, including District 2 County Commissioner Lynette Howard, Nick Masino of Parnership Gwinnett and Shiv Aggarwal from the Gwinnett Village CID.
Vice said the project was, remarkably, on time and on budget despite the breakneck pace of the move. “I hope you are proud because I surely am,” he said, naming those involved in the expansion.
Packaging Dynamics CEO Roger Prevot said that his company obviously has a finite number of investment dollars, but this project is the single biggest investment they’ve made in three years. “It’s the right place, the right people and the right product trends happening,” Prevot said. “We’re seeing a lot of growth in the Southeast.”
He added that the area has been supportive and business-friendly—and there’s a great workforce at the company’s disposal. “That isn’t true everywhere,” he said.
Prevot said that his company’s has experienced great success because it is environmentally minded: consumers and businesses are starting to prefer paper packaging over plastic because it is more sustainable.
This news comes amid chatter that RockTenn, another paper giant, may be moving out of Norcross for a larger facility. Bullock said the two companies are not competitors, but have a different niche in the same market, with RockTenn taking the heavier paperboard business and Bagcraft Papercon focusing on light wax paper products.
Masino pointed out that Gwinnett is no newcomer to economic expansion, being the fastest-growing county in the nation for many years running. He also pointed out that Gwinnett County has one of the lowest unemployment rates in the nation among large counties. “That doesn’t happen by accident,” he said after giving his thanks for the local investment.