Governor Brian Kemp announced this week that Home Meridian International (HMI), a division of Hooker Furniture Corporation, will open a new distribution facility in Liberty County’s Georgia Ready for Accelerated Development (GRAD) certified Tradeport East Business Center. The $23.5 million investment will deliver 50 new jobs to the area.
“We’re excited to welcome this well-known, internationally respected brand to the Peach State,” said Governor Kemp. “With our world-class ports, skilled workforce, and strong community support, I’m confident HMI will find success in establishing their new distribution center in Liberty County. I look forward to seeing the new opportunities this facility will create for hardworking Georgians in the region.”
U.S.-owned HMI maintains locations around the globe, with recognized brands under its portfolio that include Pulaski Furniture, Samuel Lawrence Furniture, Samuel Lawrence Hospitality, Prime Resources International, Accentrics Home, and HMIdea. Liberty County will become one of its strategically located distribution centers, which can reach nearly all of the U.S. population within 36 hours, reducing transportation costs, and increasing operating efficiencies. The location’s proximity to the Port of Savannah played a major role in the project, as the company is expected to import more than 8,000 cargo container units a year.
“We are pleased by the opportunity to better support our customers through consolidating our HMI inventory in this state-of-the-art, high-bay, 800,000-square-foot facility located near the major Port of Savannah,” said Paul B. Toms Jr., chairman and chief executive officer of Hooker Furniture Corporation. “As robust demand for products serviced out of our warehouses continues to increase, this will better position us to grow. The State of Georgia, the Liberty County Development Authority and the developer, Safavieh, have been great partners to work with. We value the workforce in this area and look forward to contributing to the local economy and being involved in the community, as we are in every community where we have a presence.”
HMI will occupy a brand-new, custom-built 800,000-square-foot-facility located at Tradeport East Business Center in Liberty County. Job opportunities at the company will include warehouse supervisors, shipping and receiving administrators, forklift operators, inventory control coordinators, and loader/unloader positions.
Tradeport East Business Center is a Georgia Ready for Accelerated Development (GRAD) certified park. To earn a GRAD program certification, a property must undergo due diligence and complete specific certification requirements prior to a visit by a prospective business. Completing the GRAD certification program with the Georgia Department of Economic Development is a proactive way both community planners and landowners can help catalyze economic growth and industrial development for the regions they serve. Since the inception of GDEcD’s GRAD certification program, more than 8,000 jobs have been created on GRAD sites.
“We are pleased and excited that HMI, a company with a reputation for being a good corporate citizen, has selected Tradeport East Business Center as the best location in coastal Georgia to make a substantial investment for its future growth,” said Liberty County Development Authority Chairman Allen Brown. “Like the other corporations that have preceded them in selecting and investing in Tradeport East, we are confident that HMI will also find that Liberty County is a prime location to Come Grow Globally!”
In September, the Port of Savannah serviced the largest ship ever to call on the U.S. East Coast. The Georgia Ports Authority also announced that August was the Port’s best-ever month on record, following the news that the Port earned the status as the top port in the nation for U.S. exports.
“The Georgia Ports Authority is proud to support the expansion of jobs and opportunity in Liberty County,” said Georgia Ports Authority Executive Director Griff Lynch. “Georgia’s unmatched connectivity by road and rail, combined with the Port of Savannah’s broad global network, make this state the perfect location for logistics operations like HMI’s.”
The Georgia Department of Economic Development was represented in this competitive project by Hank Evans, Global Commerce division director of logistics, energy, agribusiness and food projects, in partnership with the Liberty County Development Authority, the Georgia Ports Authority, and Georgia Power.
“The decision of HMI to establish a presence in Georgia shows that the growth of the global e-commerce industry is supported by our logistics network. This includes the Georgia ports, highway infrastructure, our railway system and the world‘s busiest airport,” said GDEcD Commissioner Pat Wilson. “I congratulate our economic development partners in Liberty County and thank them for helping win this project for Georgia and proactively getting this site GRAD-certified.”