MEMPHIS, TN (abc24.com) – More jobs and more money are headed to Memphis and Shelby County. The Swedish company Electrolux promised both at a groundbreaking ceremony Wednesday, October 5, 2011 for a new factory in southwest Memphis.
City, county and state politicos celebrated the new plant that has promised to create 1,250 jobs and pump millions into the economy, but Memphis Mayor A C Wharton said the celebration was about more than a new factory that will manufacture kitchen appliances.
"We are on the map now as a place that knows how to do business,” Wharton told abc24.com. “That's priceless."
The project already carries a high cost for taxpayers. The state kicked in $97 million to bring the plant to Memphis, while Memphis and Shelby County chipped in another $20 million each.
"Anytime you're out recruiting big business, you've got to have some incentives to recruit,” said Shelby County Mayor Mark Luttrell. “That's playing in the big leagues, if you will, and we were able to play in the big leagues."
He said jobs will be one return on the investment; and not just jobs for people hired to work at the factory, but jobs created as construction puts other companies to work.
"As we get closer to the plant being ready for production, we'll be hiring for the line workers, and engineering and research and development jobs,” explained Electrolux spokeswoman Caryn Klebba.
Wharton believes other companies may follow Electrolux to Memphis.
“Now people are saying, 'hey, what about that place called Memphis,’” Wharton told abc24.com.
Despite Wednesday’s groundbreaking, there's still a lot of work ahead. Full production at the plant isn't scheduled to start until 2014.