Kitsbow, a specialty clothing manufacturer based in California, will create 53 new jobs in Old Fort, North Carolina. The company will invest $890,000 in operating a manufacturing and distribution facility in McDowell County.
Kitsbow is a premium clothing brand for cyclists. Using materials from all over the world, Kitsbow makes clothing with innovative materials to create quality, durable gear without sacrificing style. Started in 2012 by mountain bikers, Kitsbow’s team will relocate its West Coast operations to North Carolina with a new manufacturing and distribution center.
“We considered 11 different possibilities in the Eastern U.S. with a track record of textile and apparel manufacturing, and it became obvious that Western North Carolina had the perfect blend of talent, daily shipping access, and a spectacular quality of life for our team members,” said David Billstrom, CEO of Kitsbow. “I have seen first-hand the resilience and work ethic of the workforce in Appalachia, and that was a major factor in the decision to choose Old Fort in McDowell County for our new Lean manufacturing facility.”
“North Carolina has an excellent business climate for the outdoor industry,” said North Carolina Commerce Secretary Anthony M. Copeland. “Coupled with the largest manufacturing workforce in the Southeastern United States, Kitsbow found a great home in Old Fort.”
The North Carolina Department of Commerce and the Economic Development Partnership of N.C. were instrumental in supporting the company’s decision to operate in McDowell County.
“Kitsbow’s decision to move their manufacturing facility to Old Fort is exciting news for McDowell County,” said Governor Roy Cooper. “This new plant means growth for the whole area and good jobs for the people who will power production.”
A performance-based grant of $200,000 from the One North Carolina Fund will help facilitate Kitsbow’s new operation in McDowell County. The One NC Fund provides financial assistance to local governments to help attract economic investment and to create jobs. Companies receive no money upfront and must meet job creation and capital investment targets to qualify for payment. All One NC grants require a matching grant from local governments and any award is contingent upon that condition being met.
“These 53 manufacturing jobs are greatly welcomed,” said N.C. Senator Ralph Hise. “Our talented workforce is ready to support their operations.”
In addition to North Carolina Department of Commerce and the Economic Development Partnership of North Carolina, other key partners in the project include the North Carolina Community College System, McDowell County, McDowell Economic Development Association, Inc., and the Town of Old Fort.