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Office seating business moving 510 jobs from China to West Tennessee

Tuesday 22 October 2013

US Ergonomic office chair producer 9to5 Seating is moving its manufacturing operations from China to Union City in West Tennessee, bringing 510 jobs to a region that sorely needs them, officials said Monday.
Tennessee Gov. Bill Haslam was joined by 9to5 Seating CEO Darius Mir and local officials in announcing the $39.5 million investment being made by the family-owned business. The company, based in Hawthorne, Calif., plans to add the jobs over a five-year period but plans to begin production in early 2014 in this city of about 11,000 people. As part of the move, Mir, an Iranian immigrant, says the company will introduce a new retail product line called Made in America Seating. Many associated with the transaction are hailing it as a victory for a region in rural America trying to strengthen its economy in challenging times.
"We are determined to not only bring back manufacturing to the United States, but to reverse a 30-year trend by exporting our high-quality USA made products competitively to Asia and other countries around the world," Mir said. The company is leaving Zhongsang in favor of a location where U.S. marketing and distribution is easier and transportation costs are lower, Mir said. He said the government of China is aware that some manufacturing is leaving.
"We found that officials in China have been very helpful, but manufacturing in China is not going to be a long-term solution for manufacturers," Mir said. The announcement was good news for Union City, which lost 1,800 jobs after the 43-year-old Goodyear tire plant closed in July 2011. "I'm so happy, I would turn flips if I was younger," said Benny McGuire, Obion County's mayor.

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