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Price Industries to expand manufacturing in Winder

WINDER - Suwanee-based Price Industries will expand its manufacturing facilities to a $5 million, 90,000-square-foot facility on 14 acres at 1290 Barrow Industrial Parkway near Winder.

Barrow County gave Price Industries a staggered, 7-year tax abatement incentive to build inside the county. However, no dollar figure is available on the value of that abatement because the property's value has not yet been assessed, said Doug Garrison, chairman of the board of commissioners.

After three straight years of 30 percent growth, the company has outgrown its 170,000-square-foot plant in Suwanee that also serves as its U.S. headquarters, said Glen Streit, facilities manager.

Price Industries manufactures custom HVAC systems for specialized air flow in hospitals, banks, laboratories and offices, he said.

"We ran out of room. We have some very good problems," Streit said. "The building and business growth has not grown, we are taking it away from our competitors."

About 425 people work at the Suwanee plant and many of them will move to Winder, giving the Suwanee workers some breathing room, Streit said. The whole HVAC assembly will move to the Barrow County plant allowing the company to expand its manufacture of grills, registers and diffusers in Suwanee.

Manufacturing in the Barrow plant is scheduled to begin Aug. 1.

"Our goal is to do what we do now in two shifts to do in one shift in Winder," Streit said. "We've re-engineered, redesigned and added a whole another assembly line."

The acreage and an extra lot in back will allow another 30,000-square-foot expansion.

"We figure we'll need it in about a year or two," Streit said.

Price Industries will pay reduced taxes in Barrow County for its first seven years of operation until the eighth year, when it will pay its full taxes based on the property's assessed value.

The first year it will pay 5 percent of its tax bill, 10 percent the second year, 15 percent the third year, then those payments increase each year by 40, 55 and 80 percents respectively, capping in the eighth year, said Cecil Highfield, Barrow County's tax assessor.

Price Industries is a privately held company owned by Gerry Price, Streit said. The company was founded in 1946 in Winnipeg, Canada, and expanded to Suwanee in 1995, according to the company's Web site. It operates five facilities in Georgia, Arizona and Canada. The HVAC division grossed about $150 million in 2007, Streit said.

Anyone looking for an entry level manufacturing job can apply at 2975 Shawnee Ridge Court in Suwanee at

3 p.m. Tuesdays and Thursdays, Streit said. Price Industries has partnered with Gwinnett Technical College to provide training for Price employees through the college's Quick Start division.