May 28, 2015

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German tannery moving into new digs at Ceres

Published 10:31 am Tuesday, May 13, 2014

Thomas Schneider, CEO of ISA TanTec, speaks Monday at a ceremony at Ceres Research and Industrial Interplex announcing the company’s intentions to open its first U.S. tannery at the Flowers industrial park. Seated, from left, are Mayor George Flaggs, Warren County Board of Supervisors president Bill Lauderdale and Gov. Phil Bryant.
Thomas Schneider, CEO of ISA TanTec, speaks Monday at a ceremony at Ceres Research and Industrial Interplex announcing the company’s intentions to open its first U.S. tannery at the Flowers industrial park. Seated, from left, are Mayor George Flaggs, Warren County Board of Supervisors president Bill Lauderdale and Gov. Phil Bryant.

Leather that goes into making athletic shoes, jackets and other apparel will be processed in Warren County by 2015.

ISA TanTec, will locate in the 140,000-square-foot former CalsonicKansei building on the north end of Ceres Research and Industrial Interplex. The German-invested company, which has facilities in Vietnam and China where raw leather is tanned, vacuum-dried and packed, plans to invest $10.1 million and hire 366 people in the first five years of operation.

“This is the beginning of Mississippi TanTec,” said CEO Thomas Schneider in a ceremony Monday that marked the first public announcement of the company’s arrival.

ISA TanTec sells leather to shoe makers including Timberland, Wolverine, Deckers, Clarks, Merrell, Sperry, Rockport and New Balance. During the ceremony, Gov. Phil Bryant noted the company’s involvement in supplying leather for the Harley Davidson brand of jackets.

“I’ve visited Harley Davidson in Wisconsin,” Bryant said. “I asked them if they could make their boots and jackets here in Mississippi. Next time I buy my jacket, I’ll know Mississippi had a hand in that process.”

The company’s identity had been confidential until the ceremony. On April 21, Warren County supervisors OK’d applying for $3.9 million in federal block grants and loans to help finance the purchase of the former auto parts supply plant and build a wastewater pretreatment facility. The Mississippi Development Authority is also kicking in $750,000 for improvements to the building.

A hearing is set for next Monday to take public comments on the loan application, in keeping with requirements associated with the capital improvement loan. The hearing follows the county board’s regular meeting, at 9 a.m.

Mayor George Flaggs Jr., Warren County Port Commission executive director Wayne Mansfield and Warren County Board of Supervisors president Bill Lauderdale lauded the cooperation by local government in trying to land the company, which had shopped around for a site at least since last September.

“The governor is trying to help get things for this side of the state,” Flaggs said during the 20-minute ceremony.

ISA TanTec is the first new tenant at Ceres since 2011, when Laclede Chain purchased the Yorozu Automotive Mississippi auto parts supply plant on the other side of west side of the 1,300-acre industrial park.

The company’s announcement comes ahead of a second new industry announcement in as many days. CAM2, a Colorado-based motor oils blender, plans to announce its relocation to the Port of Vicksburg today.