UniFirst Corp. will add up to 25 jobs over the next three years to support a $12 million expansion of its Owensboro, KY distribution center. The company is one of North America’s largest workwear and textile service companies. UniFirst’s Daviess County distribution and order-fulfillment center currently employs about 375 people making and distributing shirts, pants, jackets, caps and safety items.
The expansion project will add 40,000 square feet to UniFirst’s existing building to total approximately 360,000 square feet of production, packing, office and shipping space. Installing state-of-the art technology will allow UniFirst to process greater volumes of goods, afford faster and more accurate response times, and further improve customer service to its 300 business customers coast-to-coast while maintaining quality.
“This addition will allow us to service existing customers more efficiently and effectively as well as accommodate future business growth,” said UniFirst General Manager Dave Roberts. “When we embarked on this expansion process, we looked at several options including expanding here, in other locations, or building a new facility elsewhere. Ultimately, the advantages of growing here in Owensboro – the region’s workforce, leveraging the economies of scale and building on the connection we already have with the community – made the most sense.”
Last month, the Kentucky Economic Development Finance Authority (KEDFA) preliminarily approved UniFirst for tax incentives up to $500,000 through the Kentucky Business Investment program. The performance-based incentive is based on the company’s investment of up to $12 million and creation of up to 25 jobs. UniFirst will keep a portion of its investment over the agreement term through corporate income tax credits and wage assessments by meeting job and investment targets.
UniFirst can also receive resources from the Kentucky Skills Network. Through the Kentucky Skills Network, companies can receive no-cost recruitment and job placement services, reduced-cost customized training and job training incentives. Last year, the Kentucky Skills Network trained more than 84,000 employees from more than 5,600 Kentucky companies.
“The growth of UniFirst in Owensboro shows that forward-thinking companies in Kentucky are receiving the resources they need to expand. We are grateful for their continued investment in the Commonwealth,” said Gov. Matt Bevin. “We extend our congratulations to the company’s local and national management teams and look forward to their continued success.”
UniFirst recently purchased Detroit-based competitor Arrow Uniforms in a $122 million cash deal. The acquisition will help UniFirst enter new markets and create additional demand for its products and services.
“This planned expansion by UniFirst highlights its success across nearly two decades in Owensboro,” said Sen. Joe Bowen. “My colleagues and I are working hard – whether through energy policy, interaction with local governments or enhancing Kentuckians’ quality of life – to continue making our Commonwealth a premier state for business. The outcome of those efforts is seen when high-quality companies like UniFirst decide to reinvest and grow in Kentucky.”
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