Shoe company renovating its Gwinnett plant and adding 340 new jobs

Okabashi employee Maria Blanco removes men’s Eurosport sandals from a rotary injection molding machine. The company announced a new investment in its Gwinnett manufacturing facility that it says will create 340 new jobs.

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Okabashi employee Maria Blanco removes men’s Eurosport sandals from a rotary injection molding machine. The company announced a new investment in its Gwinnett manufacturing facility that it says will create 340 new jobs.

Okabashi Brands remains one of the few manufacturers that still produces footwear in the U.S.

Gwinnett County-based sandal and flip-flop manufacturer Okabashi Brands announced Thursday that it will invest $20 million and create 340 new jobs over the next five years as it renovates and expands its Buford production plant.

The updates to the company’s existing facility will include adding new manufacturing lines, which are expected to double the plant’s production capacity, according to a news release from Gov. Brian Kemp’s office.

A family-run and women-led company, Okabashi Brands was founded by an Iranian immigrant and has sold more than 35 million pairs of shoes since it was established in 1984. The company’s brands include Okabashi, Oka-B, and Third Oak, which are sold at retail stores and online, as well to major manufacturing customers.

Okabashi says its shoes are 100% recyclable and made from at least 25% recycled materials and 45% soy by weight.

Most shoe companies have moved production overseas to capitalize on cheap labor and maximize profits, but Okabashi remains one of the few footwear manufacturers that still produces shoes in the U.S.

Sara Irvani, the company’s current CEO and the daughter of Okabashi founder Bahman Irvani, said she was proud to make a new commitment to the community where her family’s business started more than 30 years ago.

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“The support from our community has fostered our growth and has allowed us to continue producing quality, American-made footwear,” Irvani said. “We are thrilled to be contributing to the local economy through this expansion.”

Kemp also praised Okabashi’s Georgia expansion.

“We’re proud Okabashi calls the Peach State home, and we look forward to their continued growth,” Kemp said in a release.