Photo by Corinne Nicholson
DORAVILLE -- Job by job, company by company, Gwinnett's economy is recovering, business leaders said Thursday as they celebrated the expansion of two local businesses, bringing a few dozen jobs.
In the morning, the Chamber of Commerce saluted Graham-Field Health Products, which relocated its Lumex Recliner production to Doraville from Taiwan.
Then in the afternoon, a Chinese company announced expansion of its sales operations in Duluth.
"Our access to international markets and our workforce are competitive with any country in the world, and we fully intend to keep them that way," said Chris Cummiskey, Commissioner of the Georgia Department of Economic Development.
Ken Spett, the CEO and president of Graham-Field Health Products, said the draw to metro Atlanta was enough to bring the New York company's headquarters to Gwinnett in 1999. But the cooperation of local officials and the Chamber of Commerce, as well as tax breaks from the state, landed the production here, as the company shifted to a "Made in the U.S.A." model.
"In this industry, it's fairly new," Spett said of the decision to pursue production in America of the company's clinical care recliners, which are often used at dialysis centers. "Most companies are going the opposite way."
In Duluth, Wanjuong Lin, chairman of Self Electronics Corporation USA, a specialized supplier of optoelectronics, said the area's proximity to major clients such as Home Depot and Walmart helped with the selection.
"Gwinnett's location in Metro Atlanta provides convenient access to over 80 percent of the U.S. market in just two days via road transport, making it a strategic choice for companies like SELF seeking to relocate and expand," Chairwoman Charlotte Nash said in a press release.