The Oxford location of a company that produces cardboard packaging is moving to Heflin so it can expand, Heflin’s Industrial Development Board announced today.
Rusken Packaging Inc. is moving the 25 workers from its Oxford plant on Bama Drive near the Oxford Police Department and adding 15 new positions at the new site on U.S. 78 north of downtown Heflin, according to a release from the Industrial Development Board.
The city of Heflin in November approved an incentive package to entice the move, including a 10-year non-educational property tax abatement that will save Rusken approximately $110,000.
Tanya Maloney, economic development director for Heflin, said by phone Tuesday that the community is excited, not just for the added jobs, but for the investment in the building, which has been a part of Heflin’s economic life since the 1950s.
Originally home to Moore Business Forms, the 186,000-square-foot building has been owned by numerous other companies, including Gerber infant wear, Crown Tuft Manufacturing and Carlisle Tire and Wheel, Maloney said.
“It’s in tough shape, but this building was built to last,” Maloney said, adding that Rusken Packaging has already begun a major renovation, including a new roof and facade work. “That’s meant so much to this community, investing in it.”
“It’s going to bring jobs and stability back to that building,” said Heflin Mayor Rudy Rooks, speaking by phone Tuesday.
Like many small towns, Heflin has struggled with the loss of textile manufacturing jobs in the 1990s, Rooks said. Rusken’s decision to relocate there is a major boost to the city, he said.
“We’ve just been trying to regain our moment from that, and I think this will spur other companies to look closer at us,” Rooks said.
Rusken Packaging, founded in 1974, is headquartered in Cullman and operates satellite locations in Atlanta; Tupelo, Miss.; Jackson, Miss.; Jackson, Tenn.; and Harrisburg, Ark.
Maloney said Rusken has a target move-in date of June.
Attempts to reach Oxford Mayor Alton Craft on Tuesday weren’t immediately successful.
In a message to The Star on Tuesday Tim Hughes, general manager of Rusken’s Oxford location, wrote that the Heflin facility “will be a full scale fulfillment center which supplies several automotive manufacturers and Tier 1 Suppliers in Alabama and Georgia.”
Don Hopper, executive director of the Calhoun County Economic Development Council, said by phone Tuesday that while the company is relocating outside of Calhoun County, workers who live there will be able to keep their jobs after the move.
“It keeps them in our region,” Hopper said, speaking of those jobs. “And it’s happening close to home.”