Officials work to preserve the integrity of the community while expanding opportunities for residents, and recently, city, county, regional, and state officials and organizations collaborated to bring a new opportunity for the Upper Cumberland workforce to White County.
Hörmann, a company with German roots but a history of investing in American communities, is an industry leader who choose to locate their newest garage door manufacturing facility at 450 Airport Rd., in Sparta.
On Oct. 23, the new company opened its doors to the public and hosted a grand opening that included guest speakers from the organizations that helped bring this project to fulfillment. Tours of the facility were also provided.
“We looked at a lot of sites in Kentucky, Tennessee, and really a lot of the Southeast, but as we narrowed down the field more and more and the closer we got to working with [White County Executive] Denny Wayne [Robinson] and the economic development group here in Sparta/White County, we realized that the site was incredible,” Cameron Rudd, president of Hörmann LLC, said. “From the site itself and constructability as well as just the community. There is both a good blue-collar and white-collar work force here. The cooperation in the entire Upper Cumberland was great for us. It was a really good fit for us.”
“It’s the largest capital investment ever in the history of White County,” County Executive Denny Wayne Robinson said of the work done to bring Hörmann to Sparta. “But for this project to come to fruition, we had a lot of support.”
Robinson went on to recognize county commissioners, both current as well as past, along with members of the industrial development board, and Sparta Mayor Jeff Young and city aldermen.
“We all know that to grow, you have to invest in your community, but that is a lot easier said than done,” Robinson said. “I want to thank these city and local leaders for their vision. Without that, we would not be here today.”
“Economic development isn’t always flashy. There’s a lot of behind the scenes stuff,” he continued, and then acknowledged many of the departments that helped bring the manufacturing company to White County: Tennessee Department of Economic Development, Tennessee Department of Transportation, Tennessee Valley Authority, Middle Tennessee Industrial Development Authority, Sparta-White County Chamber of Commerce, Highlands Economic Partnership, and Upper Cumberland Development District.
“Our job every day is to bring jobs to Tennessee, but the other part of that job is to make sure that the communities in the rural parts of our state prosper just like the urban areas,” Bob Rolfe, Tennessee Department of Economic and Community Development commissioner, said. “I am here to celebrate what I think is one of the great days in Sparta and White County.”
“I believe this may have been the perfect trade. The general assembly funds our budget and without them we wouldn’t have the tools to bring companies like this here,” Rolfe continued, offering special thanks and acknowledgement to State Representative Paul Sherrell and State Senator Paul Bailey.
The addition of Hörmann LLC to White County will add 200 jobs to the community, meaning there are more opportunities for residents of the Upper Cumberland. However, according to Rudd, those jobs are just the beginning.
“We wanted to find a site that would let us grow,” Rudd said. “We are on 75 acres here. We are at 325,000 square feet, 25,000 of that is the office, but we have the ability to get over a million square feet of production space here eventually.”
Rudd said the garage doors they produce are large, so they require a lot of space, but that if the time comes to expand the production facility, that will also mean expanding their work force.
“We need a lot of space,” Rudd said. “It [the property in White County] was a great fit for us.”