By Stan Welch
One of the more unusual stories in Anderson County’s recent history of economic development came to a happy conclusion Monday, as Allegro Industries opened their new manufacturing facility in Upstate Industrial Park in Piedmont. The company, which produces a variety of industrial safety products, including respirators and ventilators, relocated to Anderson County from its California home because the daughter of one of its owners was attending Clemson University, and they wanted to be closer to her.
The facility was originally destined for Pickens County, but the deal didn’t come together, leaving Jimmy Wilson, developer of the Upstate Industrial Park, to step in and offer an alternative. Co-owners Tom Johnston and Tony Ferroni liked that offer, and Allegro Industries became Anderson County’s newest manufacturer Monday.
The company is operating out of a 50,000 square foot facility which was built in just four months. They shipped their first merchandise last Friday. As the ribbon cutting was taking place, the last truckload of furniture and office equipment from the California plant sat at the dock, waiting to be unloaded.
District Six County Councilman Ken Waters welcomed the company to Anderson County, saying “We appreciate the jobs and investment that you bring. It shows people that even in these tough economic times, companies can grow and jobs can be created. Jimmy Wilson has always believed that. He has been a real pleasure to work with throughout this process. To Allegro Industries, we say welcome to Anderson County.”
County administrator Rusty Burns acknowledged the economic development department’s role, as well as Wilson’s. He also said that the forty jobs created were already increasing. “I have secret information that there will soon be fifty people at work here at Allegro. That’s fifty more families who can build their lives and pay their bills and create a future for themselves. That is the real impact of jobs.”
Tom Johnston also praised Wilson, as well as the economic development team from Anderson County. “It has been a little stressful at times, moving all the way across the country. But the folks from Anderson County, from Burriss Nelson and Rusty Burns to Jimmy Wilson have been right there whenever we needed them. We are glad to be in Anderson County, and being able to go to the Clemson-Virginia Tech game this weekend was just icing on the cake,” said Johnston.
The Allegro facility is the eighteenth plant built in the industrial park, according to Jimmy Wilson. The initial capital investment was $1.65 million. “There are currently approximately 400 jobs in the park, and some of our existing companies have major expansions planned in the coming months.” said Wilson.
Founded in 1987 and based in Garden Grove, Calif., Allegro Industries offers a full line of safety equipment and ergonomic products for the workplace. For more information about the company, please visit www.allegrosafety.com.