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Metal roof fabricator coming to Brantley

Chris Buchanan

1 DevAuth

Development Authority chair Peggy Bowers, left, thanks Georgia Metals manager Byron Lee at the end of Monday’s meeting while the company’s CEO Tripp Strickland shakes hands with executive director Richard Thornton. The authority will be clearing land for the company to move into the county development authority in the coming months.

A Danielsville company with ties to the area will be the next industry to move into Brantley County and bring over a dozen jobs with it, development authority and company officials said at Monday’s regular authority meeting.

After a lengthy executive session regarding real estate, authority members reconvened to announce that Georgia Metals will be opening its third location in the state in the Brantley County industrial park in the near future.

The company is owned  by Tripp Strickland and managed by Byron Lee.  Strickland said that the company specializes in residential and steel roof fabrication and some types of agricultural truss system. The company and primarily serves the southeastern region of the United States.

For the manager, Lee, the industrial park isn’t a far cry from his home stomping grounds.  Lee grew up in the Ware and Brantley area he said after the meeting.

In addition to the branch in Danielsville, north of Athens, the company also has a branch in Moultrie.  The third location will be comprised of two industrial park lots at the back of the industrial park in Nahunta.

“We have agreed to clear some area on the two lots that they’re buying for the location of the first structure,” Authority executive director Richard Thornton said. “Once we have cleared that land we’ll enter into a lease agreement beginning at that time.”

And that tentative agreement will likely mean a lease purchase option after 60 months and the lease payments previously made will offset the purchase price.

“We’re hoping for all of this to take place as soon as possible weather permitting,” authority chairman Peggy Bowers said. “Hopefully something positive by the first of the year if not before.”

The company plans to hire between 13 and 16 employees to start out but Strickland said that this number could grow in the company’s future.

“We’re excited about it, we just wanted to see some movement out there and these guys came knocking on door and we’re really pleased with it,” Bowers said.

Bowers said she anticipates a long working relationship with the new company and Thornton agreed adding that he looked forward to helping the company grow their business and helping Brantley grow industry in general.

While the new company sets up shot in Brantley, another one has already surpassed goals it had made as part of a tax abatement agreement with the development authority that led to the company expanding its operation.

Foodonics had pledged to increase employment to 68 at its Humpty Dumpty chicken egg layer houses outside of Hoboken and after a meeting with the manager of the company, Dennis Hughes, Thornton announced that the company had significantly surpassed that goal actually increasing employment to 78 and planning to continue to hire as expansions continue with a goal of an additional 15 to 18 new jobs in the coming years.  The company will be investing $13 million to $14 million over the next two years as well, Thornton said.

Authority member Joe Carr also brought up a recent story he saw that claimed that California would now be cracking down on eggs the state allowed to be sold in the state with the law paying particular attention to how humanely chickens are raised at the houses.

Thornton responded that if the issue ever did spread closer to Georgia, the Hoboken location has served as one of the largest organic egg houses in the Eggland’s Best franchise.


In other business, the authority:

• Announced that the Coastal Georgia Film Alliance expressed interest in allowing Brantley to join.  Thornton said that one of the members of the group heading the organization actually lived in the county for just shy of a decade.  Officials with the organization have asked the county to come back to speak with them when they are done working with at least one movie studio that is already filming in the area.  The group was created to help attract filming companies to the region. Brantley is already recognized as a “camera-ready” county by the state.

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