Southeastern Mills

Southeastern Mills’ facility on East First Avenue has been one of the Rome metropolitan statistical area’s most consistent producers throughout the last decade. (Doug Walker, RN-T)

Southeastern Mills revealed plans for a 120,000 square- foot warehouse and distribution facility in the South Floyd Industrial Park. The Development Authority of Floyd County approved the sale of 15 acres to the company at $15,000 per acre and the company will have the right of first refusal for adjacent acreage.

The property sits off Superior Drive, just south of Packaging Products and just to the east of Paris Lake on the Georgia Highlands College campus.

The adjacent acreage is very similar in size to the 15 acres SEM has agreed to purchase, Rome Floyd Chamber President Al Hodge said. A survey is being performed to specify the boundaries.

Fran Smith, vice-president for supply chain, told members of the development authority the company has experienced tremendous growth in both its retail business as well as its industrial business.

"We have a brand, Better than Bouillon, and we are experiencing both dollar and volume growth. We've got hot hand right now," Smith said.

The company is also planning a nationwide media campaign this fall. He suggested that the brand could double its growth rate in the year following the ad campaign with sustainable growth forecast for the next five years.

A secondary reason for the growth involves the potential for acquisitions.

"Immediately, September 1 hopefully, we will begin land work," Smith said.

If weather cooperates, he said the new building should be ready for occupancy next July or August. The new warehouse and distribution facility will include both refrigerated storage and dry storage capabilities.

Jimmy Byars, broker at Hardy Realty said the company had looked at a lot of property over the past year, including Calhoun and Adairsville, all close to I-75.

"There were opportunities elsewhere," Smith said. "At Southeastern Mills we are committed to the this area and we're committed long term.”

The $15,000 per acre price tag did represent a slight reduction from what the chamber had been marketing the site for, Hodge said.

"It is a plan that takes careful consideration of existing manufacturing and the fact that they have been an excellent corporate citizen," Hodge said.

"We can't begin to tell you how much we appreciate what Southeastern Mills does in the community and that's a big part of the reason for lowering the price," Floyd County Manager Jamie McCord said.

The company did not ask for any incentives associated with the deal and is committed to using as many local contractors as possible during the construction process, Byars said.

The company will be bringing some jobs back into Rome which are now based in leased space in an adjacent county. Smith also said between 12 and 18 new jobs could be created along with the expansion.

He said that number could be larger in the event of an acquisition.