Kimberly-Clark investing $115 million in Beech Island plant

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Saturday March 2, 2019

AUGUSTA, Ga. (WRDW/WAGT) -- A year a go, Kimberly-Clark announced a massive workforce reduction, cutting 13 percent of its workers and closing down ten plants company-wide. The Beech Island plant is the largest Kimberly-Clark plant in North America. Now, the plant is growing internally.

It impacts a lot more than just the employees at the plant. Every job at Kimberly-Clark supports other jobs in the community and people are relieved to see the company pouring more than $100 million more in the plant. And so are local businesses -- which is where we find Jimmy Stallings.

The only thing better than Stallings' laugh are the trims he gives at Legacy Barber Shop off Old Jackson Highway.

"Do a good job on a client and word of mouth, it's the best thing so it's been great." said Stallings, owner of the barber shop.

His location might seem out of the way. "It's perfect. It's the best location in town." said Stallings.

But make no mistake, the chairs at his shop get filled.

"I'd say maybe 75 percent of them come from Kimberly-Clark," Stallings said about his clientele.

Kimberly-Clark, just up the road from his shop, was on the hot seat a year ago when they announced 10 plants would close and 13 percent of the workforce would be cut. Beech Island survived both.

"That morning when I read that news clip my heart sank," said Will Williams, with the Economic Development Partnership. "So to be where we are now certainly is positive."

The company is growing instead, pouring $115 million back into the plant over the next five years. That investment means a more secure future for plant workers and for Jimmy's clients.

"Of course when they have a job, they come and see me more when they're making money so that's always good," said Stallings.

Aiken County leaders have to approve 30 years of tax incentives for the plant to move forward with the improvements. Those improvements include upgrades to their facility and new equipment. Aiken County Council has it's third and final reading on the tax break on March 5th. The $115 million is set to roll out over the next five years after that is approved.