Los Angeles apparel company to bring 557 jobs to vacant Alabama plant

Published 7:53 pm Saturday, March 12, 2022

A Los Angeles-based apparel company plans to take over part of a shuttered Alabama textile plant and bring in hundreds of jobs, state officials said.

Gov. Kay Ivey’s office this week said the state is leasing to Bella+Canvas a part of the 890,000-square-foot building in Wetumpka that’s been vacant since Russell Brands left in 2013, The Montgomery Advertiser reported.

Bella+Canvas plans to use the space for what Ivey’s office called an “advanced fabric cutting facility,” investing $11.9 million and creating at least 557 jobs. The facility will be modeled after the company’s current location in Los Angeles, which uses proprietary software and tables to cut about 3 million garments a week while employing 1,000 workers.

Bella+Canvas produces a range of clothing for retail and wholesale. Founders Danny Harris and Marco DeGeorge started the company as a screen printing business in 1992 before expanding into a cut-and-sew operation and introducing new fabrics and fashion lines.

“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,” Bella+Canvas President Chris Blakeslee said in a statement.

The state said jobs will include spreaders, general cutting laborers, forklift operators, shipping and receiving clerks and administrative staff with an average annual wage of $46,000. State job training agency AIDT is helping the company with training and onboarding workers.

“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,” Alabama Commerce Secretary Greg Canfield said in a statement.

The state did not announce a timetable for the plant opening.