New tire plant may open other doors quickly

by: Greg Suskin Updated:

Loading

CHESTER COUNTY - Within hours of Chester County's biggest single economic windfall ever, the phone in Karlissa Parker's office started ringing.

The announcement that Giti tire was coming and bringing 1,700 jobs, traveled quickly.

"I probably took 20 calls from people asking me how they could work there," said Parker, the county's economic development director.

Officials at the employment office in Chester told Channel 9 they took about 30 more calls Monday.

However, it wasn't just job seekers on the phone to county leaders.  Potential employers were calling too, asking about how they could partner with Giti tire.

"I took six calls from people saying 'how can I get in front of them? (Giti tire) "We provide this service for tire companies, or we do such and such," she said.

Spin off businesses may be quick to ride into the county in Giti tire's tracks.

The so-called super site, or mega site where Giti will build stretches roughly three miles from exit 65 to exit 62 on Interstate 77.

Channel 9 drove the site of the future plant Tuesday, and saw fields of wheat and corn.  By 2016, Giti  will invest $565 million, and churn out 5 million tires a year there.

The excitement across the county is palpable. Robert Willard retired from Springs Industries, and was thrilled at the news.

"We're tickled to death to have anything positive for Chester. We need it," he said.

Franchesca Caruso wants to see the area explode.

"Hopefully the tire plant will bring in more people, bring in more money, for the community and the town.  It's a fantastic thing," she said

Dina Patel runs two motels in Richburg right off I-77.

'When we opened back in the eighties we were always full, we had full beds every night.  Now not so much," Patel said.

She and her family even talked about closing up a few years back when the economy bottomed out    now, she said, there's hope.

'It's gonna bring a lot to the hotels.  We're waiting for them."

Parker said Tuesday that she was shocked at how involved the top executives were in the process, and engaged with the people of Chester County.

She was surprised to learn that when they toured the site, they didn't want to remove several massive old pecan trees that sit off Highway 9.
 
They also wanted to save a small pond, and preserve the natural look of the land there as much as possible.

“We really felt comfortable with what they wanted to do, and what was important to them," Parker said.

County officials expect Giti tire to move quickly now.  They want to be up and running in Richburg in only about 20 months.  That means a ground breaking is expected by the end of this summer.

Channel 9 also learned that two other tire makers, Hankook and Yokohama,  were eyeing the same site.  Both companies felt strongly about Chester County,  but one chose Mississippi instead for its plant, and the other went to Tennessee.

Giti is months away from hiring, but job seekers can check the state's employment website for information, once the process begins.