German shoemaker Adidas plans to make shoes in Cherokee County at a robot-powered assembly plant.
Adidas said Wednesday it will open a futuristic “Speedfactory” in 2017. The highly-automated facility will employ about 160 people, a news release said, and is expected to produce 50,000 shoes next year.
It will be the first such facility in the U.S. and will be similar to an existing Speedfactory in Germany.
For years, many sports apparel companies have made their shoes and other products in Southeast Asia, drawn by cheap labor.
The Georgia factory and its job functions would presumably be much different. The factory will be a 74,000-square-foot facility with its initial product focus on running shoes, the company said.
“For years our industry has been playing by the same rules manufacturing product remotely in Asia,” brand Group Executive Board Member Eric Liedtke, said in a news release. “As the creator brand that challenges convention and looks to co-create the future with our consumers, we are obsessed with bringing all steps of the creation process home to America.
Liedtke said the new factory “allows us to make product for the consumer, with the consumer, where the consumer lives in real time, unleashing unparalleled creativity and endless opportunities for customization in America.”
Adidas said it has a “mid-term” production goal of 500,000 shoes in multiple segments. Additional details were not immediately known.
“Georgia offers industry leaders such as Adidas the necessary resources to compete worldwide,” Gov. Nathan Deal said in the release. “Our state is emerging as a sports corridor for Southeastern U.S., and our business-friendly climate will be a match for Adidas’ new operation.”
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