Foss CEO AJ Nassar announced at the Rome-Floyd County Development Authority meeting Tuesday that the company will invest $15 million and will be moving into the former Mohawk building on Huffaker Road.
Foss, which opened in 1954, is considered a leader and pioneer in the use of non-woven fabrics and specialty synthetic fibers in a number of applications. The company recycles plastic out of landfills, makes it into fiber and then brings in new technologies to offer a variety of solutions to its customers.
Nassar is a managing member of the Alinian Capital Group LLC, a Florida-based company that took over a nearly bankrupt Foss in 2006.
“We basically took this company that was a commodity player — they were a company making textiles that everybody in the country and everybody in Asia can make — and decided to bring new technology to it and become a sustainable company in the green world,” Nassar said. “We tore it apart and lost a lot of money rebuilding the plant, refitting the plant, bringing new technology into the company and really taking a different direction.”
He said Foss initially lost 50 percent of its business as a planned redevelopment of the company.
“I’m happy to say that the company has retired almost all of its debt in the last six years,” Nassar said. “We are in a large expansion mode.”
Nassar said the company was looking at locations in the Carolinas when Mohawk turned them on to the plant facility it abandoned recently on Huffaker Road.
“Rome seemed to fit well,” Nassar said. “It was very important to us that it’s a friendly place for our employees because we think it’s very important that we keep our employees around. Turnover costs a lot of money so we wanted to make sure we selected an area where we give them a good place to raise their children.”
“It is always great news for our community when we secure a new company with such a diverse customer base,” said Rome Mayor Evie McNiece. “We are happy that at least 150 people will directly benefit from this positive use of a former manufacturing building,” she added.
“We are proud that Mr. Nassar and his team like what they see in our workforce and overall community,” said Floyd County Commission Chairman Irwin Bagwell.
Nassar told members of the Rome-Floyd County Development Authority that he just got back from Europe, where he actually started ordering equipment.
“We expect over the next 18 to 24 months to have the facility up to about 60 percent capacity, which would put us in the 100-150 (employee) range. We feel very confident with the business that we’re doing, the new technology we bring to manufacturing, that we can compete anywhere in the world.”
Foss will make a $15 million investment and get a five-year tax abatement but will pay full school taxes.