Metro Atlanta Shoe Manufacturer Expands local operations
(Gwinnett/Metro Atlanta News) April 20, 2012- Okabashi Brands, Inc., the largest manufacturer of sandals and flip-flops in the United States, announced plans to expand its current Gwinnett-based operations by 150 new jobs. The 27-year-old company currently employs 200 in Buford, and plans to start producing private labels in addition to their existing Okabashi and OKA b. footwear. This announcement represents another successful existing industry expansion in Gwinnett.

“Our location in Gwinnett has given us access not only to great infrastructure, but also to an incredible labor pool in the community and metro Atlanta,” said Brad Laporte, Vice President of Manufacturing at Okabashi. “Those factors have contributed substantially to the growth and success of Okabashi – further enabling us to produce and manufacture quality shoes right here in Buford, Georgia.”

“It is a tremendous point of pride for Buford to be home to a strong and innovative company like Okabashi,” said City of Buford Chairman Phillip Beard. “We are excited about their continued growth and welcome the valuable jobs that their expansion brings to our community.”

“I’m proud that a company like Okabashi is thriving right here in Gwinnett County and grateful for the new jobs this expansion will create. Okabashi is doing many things right – providing a great product at a great price, providing good jobs for local residents, making sound investments for the future, and doing it all in ways that are sensitive to the environment,” said Gwinnett County Board of Commissioners Chairman Charlotte Nash.

Gwinnett has 824 manufacturing firms with more than 22,000 employees. Since its inception in 2007, Partnership Gwinnett has been actively engaged in the development of the manufacturing industry in the community. The public-private partnership launched its second strategy in January, with goals to continue to bring jobs and wealth to the county through comprehensive economic development.

“Okabashi’s dedication to quality and sustainable products make them a rich asset to Gwinnett,” said Troels Adrian, Project Manager, Manufacturing & Supply Chain at Gwinnett Chamber Economic Development. “Moreover, their growth and resulting expansion as an all-American manufacturer in an industry dominated by overseas products demonstrate the attractiveness of Gwinnett County for advanced manufacturers and the success of Partnership Gwinnett’s focused efforts to foster existing industry growth within the community.”

For more information on Okabashi Brands, Inc., please visit http://www.okabashi.com/. For more information about Partnership Gwinnett and its local business recruitment and retention efforts, please visit www.partnershipgwinnett.com.