Louis Garneau USA Inc. is hoping to help the job market in the Northeast Kingdom flourish.
At a press conference in Newport Monday, company officials shared their plans to build a new facility in Derby and hire more Vermonters. "We are extremely happy to finally announce the construction of our new building," said the company's Josee Ferland.
The Louis Garneau Sports company is expanding, and more business means more jobs for Vermonters. The company specializes in cycling gear and ships to over 2,000 clients world wide. "We want to grow again, but no more space here. We want more space," said company owner Louis Garneau.
Right now, 90 employees work in the Newport location, but as business booms, the company is busting at the seams for a bigger building and plans to bring on 30 more employees. Each new job a help in a region with the state's worst unemployment rate.
"What we're all about is to find any way we can to partner with you to grow jobs in the Kingdom," said Governor Peter Shumlin.
Garneau began his business with his wife in his father's garage and then began renting a small office in Montpelier in 1987. He shipped orders one by one before moving to Newport in 1989. "My background is art. I was supposed to be an artist. I told that to my mom one day and she was very disappointed," Garneau said.
But with factories in Mexico and Canada and plans to soon begin construction on the 60,000 square-foot building, his career has been far from disappointing. The new facility will house production and marketing and will be about a mile from the company's current location. And more jobs is good news for the Northeast Kingdom. "We believe in the business in the U.S. We believe in Vermont. This is the perfect area for us -- it's a great spot," Garneau said.
Garneau's sons will also be joining the family business and will oversee plans to add a nutrition line to the brand next year. Construction on the new building in Derby begins in August--and will be open next June.
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