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PlastiExports now operating plant in Erwin

The Regal plant in Riverview Industrial Park in Erwin was recently purchased by PlastiExports, a Mexico-based company. The company has been operating the plant since June 1, according to company representatives. (Erwin Record File Photo)

By Richard Rourk

It was announced last month that a new industry will be calling Unicoi County home.

PlastiExports is investing nearly $7 million into the former home of Regal Beloit. It was announced in October of 2019, that Regal Beloit would close its doors in Erwin sometime in September 2020, leaving 125 employees without jobs.

PlastiExports $7 million investment will create 115 jobs by 2025, according to information recently released by local officials. Leading the way is JP Metcalf, who is now the PlastiExports TN, LLC Operations Director. Metcalf had served as a manager at Regal Beloit since 1992.

“We have about 40 employees as of June 1 and plan to ramp up to 115 as soon as possible,” Metcalf said. “Everyone in Erwin is very familiar with me. I’m so proud to lead this project. I know the community and I know how much they can contribute.”

According to Joint Economic and Community Development Board of Unicoi County Executive Director Tyler Engle, PlastiExports will also be purchasing property on South Main Avenue in Erwin as well as the former Regal Beloit Plant at 1000 South Industrial Drive.

“PlastiExports has also purchased the former Hotel Erwin building to go with the purchase of the property on Industrial Drive,” Engle said.

According to a special warranty deed from the Unicoi County Register of Deeds, PlastiExports purchased the former Regal Beloit property on June 1.

According to Engle, although there was some incentive to bring PlastiExports to Erwin, the JECDB was able to entice the Mexican based company without costing any local dollars.

“There were some state and TVA assistance programs involved, but the JECDB worked really hard to retain the local tax revenue and we were able to attract the company with no local incentives,” Engle said

PlastiExports President Baldwin Britton said the facility started operations as Plastiexports TN, LLC since that day.

“We can say that the start of operations was very well received by the collaborators and we have seen a very rapid adaptation to the processes and way of working of the company,” Britton said. “For the first stage, we started with 40 new jobs. However, we are working in our growth plan. We believe that the strength of PlastiExports in the market will lead us to 115 jobs in the short term.”

The Mexico-based company is expected to offset the loss of the 125 jobs that are leaving Regal Beloit with 115 new jobs by 2025 and will focus on growing its market. According to the company’s website, en.plastiexports.net, PlastiExports is committed to being a leader in the industry of molding by injection of plastic. PlastiExports produces more than 150 million plastic parts per year for industries such as household appliances, electronics, recreational vehicles, construction, amongst others.

“Most of the manufacturing goes to the HVAC industry, as well as home appliances, electronic industry, and some parts that are made for utility and recreational vehicles. In Mexico, we have a 35-year history, which has allowed us to expand our client portfolio to various industries and global brands,” Britton said. “We are very happy to have chosen Tennessee as our first location in the United States. We see the spirit of the collaborators and a highly developed work culture to carry out each part of the work, we are happy to think that it fully matches with PlastiExports philosophy.”

According to Engle, PlastiExports commitment is proof that Unicoi County is a great place for industry to land.

“I know that this investment by a Mexico-based company goes to prove that people across the country and around the world have confidence in Unicoi County and our ability to do business,” Engle previously said. “I’m appreciative of our partners on behalf of the people of Unicoi County.”

If you are interested in applying for a job at PlastiExports, there is an application process available at en.plastiexports.net.