It will be Ware’s second expansion in the past seven years and will increase the total number of employees at its Phipps Bend Industrial Park plant to 195.
Ware is an industry leader in the manufacturing and distribution of new and innovative products for pets, specializing in items for dogs, cats, small animals and birds — including chickens. Among the retailers that sell Ware products are PetSmart, PETCO, Farm and Fleet, and Tractor Supply.
Are pet products recession proof?
Hawkins County Industrial Development Board Chairman Larry Elkins noted that while the economy has had its ups and downs over the past 25 years, Ware has maintained its employee levels and continued to grow.
“We’re excited, as always, anytime we get new tax dollars added to the rolls and more jobs,” Elkins said. “We’re excited for them. They have remained steady all through the years, even during the down times. In a recession, the housing market may be down and people might stop buying new cars, but when it comes to buying things for their pets — that’s kind of a recession proof industry.”
Tennessee Department of Economic and Community Development Commissioner Bob Rolfe thanked Ware for its decision to expand its Phipps Bend plant, which opened in 1993.
“I appreciate Ware Manufacturing for creating over 30 new jobs in Hawkins County and for its 25-year commitment to Tennessee and Surgoinsville,” Rolfe said.
Ware’s second expansions since 2011
Ware previously expanded its Phipps Bend plant in 2011, purchasing 1.5 acres to make room for a 42,500 addition, which increased its manufacturing space to the current 150,000 square feet.
At the time, Ware anticipated increasing its number of employees to 105, and its workforce has continued to grow to its current level of 163.
“This year, as we celebrate 25 years in business, we must acknowledge our dedicated employees, as well as TNECD for their contributions to our success,” said Stephen Ware, company president. “This continuing partnership with the state of Tennessee has enabled us to invest over $1 million recently in new equipment and technology, resulting in substantial growth and job creation. We are honored to be contributing members of the Tri-Cities community and look forward to many more years of mutual prosperity.”
There was no timeline released about when the new hiring will take place.
Hawkins County’s other new industrial development
Over the past 12 months, Hawkins County has experienced a surge in industrial development activity, with the announcement of five plant expansions, three new projects, a total investment of $101.6 million and the creation of 435 jobs.
* Birdseye Energy: $1.8 million solar energy farm at Phipps Bend.
* Homeland Vinyl Products: $1.5 million expansion with 50 new jobs.
* Miyake North America: $13.7 million new plant at Phipps Bend, creating 60 jobs.
* Cooper Standard: $1 million expansion at Phipps Bend, creating 100 jobs.
* Techni-Glass: $1.5 million expansion at Phipps Bend, creating 54 jobs.
* AGC North America: $74 million plant expansion in Church Hill, creating 85 jobs.
* RMC Advanced Technologies: $7 million investment and 54 new jobs stemming from purchase of Phipps Bend spec building.