Thursday, March 10, 2022

Governor Ivey Announces BELLA+CANVAS Plans High-Tech Fabric-Cutting Facility in Alabama, Creating 557 Jobs in Wetumpka

MONTGOMERY – Governor Kay Ivey on Thursday announced that BELLA+CANVAS, a fast-growing apparel manufacturer with a “Made in the U.S.A” focus, plans a major investment in Alabama to open an advanced fabric-cutting facility expected to create over 550 jobs in Wetumpka.

Los Angeles-based BELLA+CANVAS will invest $11.9 million to establish the operation in a portion of an 890,000-square-foot building vacant since 2013, when Russell Brands departed from the Elmore County city.

“The decision by BELLA+CANVAS to locate its high-tech cutting facility in Wetumpka is welcome news for Elmore County and for Alabama,” said Governor Ivey. “Not only will the company’s growth project spark the creation of a significant number of jobs, but it also underscores how Alabama is ready and eager to play a role in America’s manufacturing renaissance.”

BELLA+CANVAS produces clothing for the retail and wholesale markets, while also offering clothing design and manufacturing services. The company is known for its domestic manufacturing mission, the development of innovative new fabrics and its sustainability practices.

BELLA+CANVAS employs over 1,000 people at a Los Angeles cutting facility it calls North America’s most advanced, thanks to proprietary software and cutting tables that enable the cutting of about 3 million garments per week. The Wetumpka facility is expected to be modeled after this operation.

“We are thrilled to be part of the community and look forward to creating jobs and opportunities for many in Alabama,” said Chris Blakeslee, president of BELLA+CANVAS. “After a comprehensive search, we ultimately concluded that our new location in Wetumpka, Alabama was not only optimal to enhance our manufacturing footprint and technologically advanced operations levels, but also ideal in terms of support from the local government and access to great new team members.”

The 557 jobs being created at the new Alabama facility include spreaders, general cutting laborers, forklift operators, shipping and receiving clerks and administrative staff. Average annual wages for the new positions are $46,000.

“Alabama’s manufacturing sector provides an ideal home for technologically advanced operations like the one planned by BELLA+CANVAS in Wetumpka,” said Greg Canfield, Secretary of the Alabama Department of Commerce. “This is a state-of-the-art facility, designed to be highly efficient with precise processes, and I know our capable workforce will help make it successful.”

AIDT, the state’s primary workforce development agency, will assist BELLA+CANVAS with pre-employment and job training services.

Thanks to significant job creation, BELLA+CANVAS’ project is expected to have a massive economic impact in the Wetumpka area of central Alabama.

“We are excited to welcome BELLA+CANVAS to Elmore County,” said County Commission Chairman Troy Stubbs. “In addition to the boost our local economy will receive from the infusion of jobs, we are proud to be part of the efforts of Phoenix Investors and BELLA+CANVAS to reshore manufacturing jobs to the United States.”

In 2020, Wisconsin-based Phoenix Investors, a national private real estate firm, announced that an affiliate had acquired the former Russell Brands building in Wetumpka. BELLA+CANVAS is leasing a portion of the building at 3145 Elmore Road from the firm.