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Kitsbow relocates manufacturing to North Carolina, will double US production

Published August 28, 2019

PETALUMA, Calif. (BRAIN) — Kitsbow, a high-end offroad cycling apparel brand, is relocating its factory from California to a new facility near Asheville, North Carolina. 

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The facility, which was home to the Parker Hosiery Co. for many years, will be reopened by the end of the year. Kitsbow, which has made many of its products in California in recent years, said it plans to get 95% of its revenue from products made in the U.S. by 2021.

Kitsbow sells primarily through its own website and through a small handful of brick-and-mortar retailers.

According to the North Carolina Department of Commerce, Kitsbow will create 53 new jobs in McDowell County and invest $890,000 in operating the manufacturing and distribution facility in Old Fort. Salaries for the new jobs will vary by position but the average annual wage will be $36,835. The average annual wage in McDowell County is $35,905 according to the state.

"We considered 11 different possibilities in the Eastern U.S. with a track record of textile and apparel manufacturing, and it became obvious that Western North Carolina had the perfect blend of talent, daily shipping access, and a spectacular quality of life for our team members," said David Billstrom, the CEO of Kitsbow. "I have seen firsthand the resilience and work ethic of the workforce in Appalachia, and that was a major factor in the decision to choose Old Fort in McDowell County for our new lean manufacturing facility."

The new factory is located at the foot of the Kitsuma trail and at the base of Mt. Mitchell, the tallest peak east of the Rockies.

"We have always wanted to deliver exactly what the customer wants, right when they want it, something the industry's bulk manufacturing model does very poorly," said Zander Nosler, who founded Kitsbow in 2012. "Adopting lean (manufacturing) principles not only makes us more efficient while reducing our waste, but we'll also have the flexibility to focus on what makes our products great, in a place that's known for its epic trails just out the front door."

Kitsbow has received over $400,000 in combined economic incentives from the state of North Carolina and McDowell County, which are tied to job creation and capital investment in the new facility. The incentives include a performance-based grant of $200,000 from the One North Carolina Fund.

The company will be accepting job applications starting Thursday at kitsbow.com/blogs/careers-kitsbow.

More information: kitsbow.com/blogs/news/made-in-the-usa-just-in-time.

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