Powerful video teases grand opening of Alabama sawmill — ‘American dreams begin with American jobs’
There is no greater evidence to support this statement than the upcoming August 27 grand opening of Abbeville Fiber Sawmill in Henry County.
A “who’s who” of state and local dignitaries will be in attendance, including the governor, to celebrate the creation of over 100 direct jobs in the area, as well as significant new tax revenue for the city and the county.
However, this new facility is about much more than the facts and figures involved. For this rural Yellowhammer State community, Abbeville Fiber is indicative of a way of life.
With the big event coming up, a chill-inducing video featuring the tagline “American dreams begin with American jobs” was released on Thursday evening.
Abbeville Fiber, a part of Jimmy Rane’s Great Southern Wood Preserving Inc., will occupy the former WestPoint Stevens textile plant off U.S. Highway 431 and Alabama Highway 27.
The state-of-the-art sawmill, featuring the latest technology in the industry, will have the capacity to produce 200,000 feet a day of finished wood and will purchase an estimated $14 million to $15 million of yellow pine timber annually from suppliers within a 50-mile radius of the plant, with local timber owners set to benefit as a result. Additionally, the facility will employ over 15 truckers from the surrounding area.
With the same innovation, honesty and hard work that helped build the YellaWood and Great Southern Wood Preserving brands, Abbeville Fiber is the latest reminder that Rane’s legacy is much more than being Alabama’s richest person. This project is all about empowering people in the area to provide a better life for their families and building a stronger, more prosperous community for all — a lofty goal that Rane has made his life’s work.
He and his company are truly committed to the Abbeville area, which is once again evident in this new facility’s location. Keep in mind that Abbeville Fiber will service Great Southern Wood Preserving locations across 28 different states, meaning this sawmill could have been built just about anywhere.
When asked by Yellowhammer News years ago, “Why Abbeville?” Rane showed his heartfelt passion — and loyalty — to his hometown, county and state.
“Why not Abbeville?” Rane replied without hesitation. “I think that’s the better question. Abbeville is home. I’ve lived here all my life. My mother’s family has been here a long time. My friends and family are here. Abbeville is composed of really fine, educated people who want an opportunity… so why not? I want to do all I can to help make Alabama as great as it can be.”
Production has begun
While the grand opening is still over a week away, business is already ramping up at Abbeville Fiber.
Charles Money Logging delivered the first load of logs on July 8 and sawing began that week, a source familiar confirmed to Yellowhammer News. The first finished lumber began shipping this month.
The sawmill has already hired over 50 employees and 15 truckers as of August 1, with more to come.
It should be noted that this is a two-phase project.
During Phase I, the facility will work its way up to an annual production rate of 50 million board feet per year.
In this phase, the sawmill will consume 40-45 truckloads of logs per day.
Then, in the next 12-15 months or so, Abbeville Fiber will ramp up production to 100 million feet, marking Phase II.
At that point, the facility will employ 105-115 people total, plus supporting 15 truckers. During this phase, the sawmill will consume 80-90 truckloads of logs per day.
The total cost of the sawmill will be approximately $40 million.
An $850,000 federal grant administered and awarded by the Alabama Department of Economic and Community Affairs will provide transportation construction assistance to ship lumber, timbers and posts produced at Abbeville Fiber. The Henry County Commission and the city of Abbeville have pledged an additional $160,000 to complete the project.
Sean Ross is the editor of Yellowhammer News. You can follow him on Twitter @sean_yhn