The opening of NBTY Inc.'s new Augusta manufacturing facility will come later than predicted, but it won't be long, company leaders said Thursday.
Just how long, the company isn't saying.
In June, the New York-based vitamin maker purchased the former Bill's Dollar Store distribution center on Tobacco Road. At that time, officials projected a start time of about six months.
"Things always go slower," President Harvey Kamil said.
Mr. Kamil would not provide a date when he expects his company to begin operating because he said he doesn't want competitors to know.
"We'll be setting up operations sometime very, very quickly," he said.
NBTY produces more than 1,500 nutritional supplements under several brand names, including MET-Rx, Carb Solutions and CarbWise.
It also produces private-label brands for Wal-Mart and other major chain stores. The company also operates 560 Vitamin World and Nutrition Warehouse stores in the United States.
NBTY has yet to move the necessary equipment into the 400,000-square-foot warehouse to convert it into a manufacturing plant, Mr. Kamil said.
The company is still hiring local employees for the plant, he said, adding that NBTY plans to train the workers through Quick Start, a state-sponsored program. Eddie Fite, the manager of Quick Start's regional operations, said NBTY has yet to contact him.
About 125 jobs will be created in the first six months of operation, with the potential for about 600 in the first three years, according to the OneGeorgia Authority.
The state agency, which distributes tobacco settlement money for economic development, awarded the company $500,000 earlier this month for the purchase of the Bill's Dollar Store property.
The agency estimates the cost for the facility at about $38 million. The company said it also has plans to double the size of the building on the 27-acre plot.
An expansion such as this one is a "big chess game" for the company, said Walter Sprouse, the executive director of the Development Authority of Richmond County.
"They're itching to get started and get some production going up here," he said. "They'll be a good corporate neighbor."
Reach Tony Lombardo at (706) 823-3227 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
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