Lifetime Products opens, brings jobs

8/9/2017

A plastic kayak factory which promises to employ 500 within five years is opening Thursday in Eastbridge Business Park on the northeast edge of Knox County.

Lifetime Products, maker of blow-molded plastics including kayaks, paddleboards and outdoor play equipment, bought a former GE building in 2015 for $6.2 million and doubled its size to 720,000 square feet. At the May 2016 groundbreaking, the $115.6 million plant was scheduled to open in May 2017.

Now a ribbon-cutting is scheduled for 10 a.m. Thursday, with Gov. Bill Haslam, state and local officials, and company representatives in attendance.

It will be the largest factory in Knox County, with a total economic impact of $184 million, creating 1,261 direct and indirect new jobs, according to Kayla Smith, economic development marketing manager for the Knoxville Chamber.

Last year company officials said they would employ 125 when the plant opened, and add 375 more jobs over five years. Average pay would be $37,000, officials said at the time.

The remaining 761 jobs will be indirectly created by the factory’s impact, Smith said.

Lifetime Products got more than $2.67 million in state and county incentives for the project, mostly from an 8-year PILOT, or payment in lieu of taxes.

The company began in 1986, making home basketball hoops and expanding to other products. Based in Clearfield, Utah, it employs about 2,700 worldwide.

Source: Knoxville News Sentinel by Jim Gaines

The East Tennessee Economic Development Agency markets and recruits business for the 15 counties in the greater Knoxville-Oak Ridge region of East Tennessee. Visit www.eteda.org

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