County and DeWafelbakkers officials celebrated the facility, located on Declaration Drive in McDonough, this week with an official ribbon-cutting ceremony.
While the facility has been operational since late December 2011 and currently has filled 105 of the 240 job positions, the official announcement and grand opening was held off until recently.
Henry County Development Authority Executive Director Bob White said the facility DeWafelbakkers is using is 15 years old, and has been utilized off on and on by other manufacturers since 1995. When the company came in, they did some renovations, such as adding a new roof, which is one of the reasons the grand opening was delayed until it was up and running.
The hires DeWafelbakkers has currently made are a mix of county residents and others outside of the area.
“There were a substantial number of local hires, but they all contribute to the economy,” White said. “They’ll buy goods and services locally and spend money.”
The recruiting process to bring in the Arkansas-based company began in 2009, when the county first heard of DeWafelbakkers’ interest in another manufacturing facility.
DeWafelbakkers’ Antiganee Contaste said the company wasn’t looking strictly at Georgia, and considered the Carolinas as an option to extend its operation, but several agencies and programs in Georgia — including the Georgia Quick Start Program — gave the state an extra advantage.
In 2010, White said DeWafelbakkers made the decision to locate in Henry County.
“The Henry County Development Authority has been extremely helpful not only on the financial side, but also in coordinating all the various agencies we need to interact with to be successful with a project of this scope,” Contaste said.
White said Henry County has several edges when it comes to attracting businesses — with location being the strongest.
“We are fairly centrally located in the fastest growing region in the Southeast,” he said. White listed Henry County’s proximity to Hartsfield-Jackson and the Port of Savannah as major boons for companies.
He also said the county has well-developed industrial and business parks, with a “wealth of quality sites and buildings.” White said many companies looking to expand or relocate are interested in existing facilities rather than pursuing new construction.