Textile supplier headed to Perry, bringing more than 140 jobs

A German-based textile supplier has chosen Perry for its first foray into the North American market, Houston County and Georgia officials announced Thursday.

Sandler AG, which supplies textiles to international manufacturers, is a privately held, family-owned company that will bring more than 140 jobs and an initial investment of $30 million to Houston County, according to a release from Gov. Nathan Deal’s office.

With annual sales of about $346 million worldwide, Sandler supplies nonwoven textiles such as baby wipes and facial wipes to large companies such as Procter & Gamble, Angela Gheesling, executive director of the Houston County Development Authority, said from Munich, Germany, after the announcement.

Gheesling said Sandler officials considered roughly 120 communities for the plant before deciding on Perry.

“If we could choose any company, it would be them,” Gheesling said. “They would be a great fit for us. We picked them, they picked us. It’s a nice match.”

The company is expected to begin recruiting workers and filling jobs early next year.

Houston County Commission Chairman Tommy Stalnaker said Thursday afternoon that local officials had been working with the company about nine months. But the 130-year-old company had been looking for the right site for more than a year.

“We are excited and very pleased and proud that they have chosen the state of Georgia -- and Middle Georgia and Houston County -- to locate their company,” Stalnaker said. “It’s got to be a tough decision on them coming to another country ... to find a location they feel most comfortable with.”

Sandler AG will occupy the development authority’s speculative building at 700 Perry Parkway and will use 100 acres, including the land where the spec building is situated. The building has been used as a marketing tool since it was built in 2001, Gheesling said.

The company is planning to use the entire 100,000-square-foot building, and it plans to build additional structures, Stalnaker said.

The spec building “was really one of the things that helped them come here. They can configure it the way they want inside,” he said. “They are going to start construction the last part of this year, ... and I think their plans are to be operational in 2016.”

Christian Heinrich Sandler, the company’s CEO, said in a statement that establishing a manufacturing plant in the U.S. is “one of the most important steps in our company history.”

“Establishing a presence in Houston County will allow us to answer to the increasing importance of the North American markets and to account for the growing demand from outside Europe.”

Chris Carr, commissioner of the Georgia Department of Economic Development, said Houston County’s central location between the port of Savannah and Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport was one of the deciding factors in choosing the midstate for the new plant.

“In addition to Georgia’s world-class logistical assets, our state, local and private-sector relationships confirmed to Sandler that Houston County is where they can be most successful going forward.”

Mark Byrd, chairman of the Houston County Development Authority, said in the statement that officials are “proud to have a company of this caliber locate in our Georgia Ready for Accelerated Development certified industrial park.”

“This project is an example of our community and a company coming together with the ultimate goal of bringing quality jobs to our citizens,” Byrd said.

Gheesling said she expects the company to grow in Houston County.

“They’re coming in, and we look for them to make future investments to grow as they have in Germany,” she said, giving a nod to the cooperation of the county and its three cities: Warner Robins, Perry and Centerville.

“To see this whole community come together, it has just been great,” Ghees­ling said.

Telegraph writer Linda S. Morris contributed to this report.