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Bella+Canvas Plans High-Tech Alabama Textile Facility

Bella+Canvas, a fast-growing apparel manufacturer with a Made in USA focus, plans a major investment in Alabama to open an advanced fabric-cutting facility expected to create over 550 jobs in Wetumpka.

The Los Angeles-based company will invest $11.9 million to establish the operation in a portion of an 890,000-square-foot building vacant since 2013, when Russell Brands departed from the Elmore County city, Alabama Gov. Kay Ivey said.

“Not only will the company’s growth project spark the creation of a significant number of jobs, but it also underscores how Alabama is ready and eager to play a role in America’s manufacturing renaissance,” Ivey said.

Bella+Canvas produces clothing for the retail and wholesale markets, while also offering clothing design and manufacturing services. The company is known for its domestic manufacturing mission, the development of innovative new fabrics and its sustainability practices.

Bella+Canvas employs over 1,000 people at a Los Angeles cutting facility that will serve as a template for the Wetumpka facility.

“We are thrilled to be part of the community and look forward to creating jobs and opportunities for many in Alabama,” said Chris Blakeslee, president of Bella+Canvas. “After a comprehensive search, we ultimately concluded that our new location in Wetumpka, Ala., was not only optimal to enhance our manufacturing footprint and technologically advanced operations levels, but also ideal in terms of support from the local government and access to great new team members.”

The 557 jobs being created at the new Alabama facility include spreaders, general cutting laborers, forklift operators, shipping and receiving clerks, and administrative staff. Annual wages for the new positions average $46,000.

AIDT, the state’s primary workforce development agency, will assist the company with pre-employment and job training services. Thanks to significant job creation, the Bella+Canvas project is expected to have a strong economic impact in the Wetumpka area.

In 2020, Wisconsin-based Phoenix Investors, a national private real estate firm, announced that an affiliate had acquired the former Russell Brands building in Wetumpka. Bella+Cavas is leasing a portion of the building at 3145 Elmore Road from the firm.

This follows significant expansion and investment in the apparel and textile industries in the Carolinas in the last couple of years. In 2021, new and expanding textile operations created 1,400 new jobs and drove more than $285 million of investments in North Carolina, according to the North Carolina Community Investment Report.