Working together: AGCOR Steel officially opens in Good Hope

Move made possible by partnership between Cullman County, City of Good Hope and City of Cullman

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The ribbon was cut at AGCOR Steel in Good Hope Friday at noon to officially open the new facility. (Nick Griffin for The Cullman Tribune)

GOOD HOPE, Ala. – Friday was a big day for AGCOR Steel, the City of Good Hope and many others across the city and county as Good Hope’s first manufacturer officially opened its doors. AGCOR, a manufacturer of metal building components, moved from Vinemont to Good Hope, in a joint effort between the City of Good Hope, City of Cullman and Cullman County. The new facility, located on 22 acres along Industrial Park Road, officially opened Friday. AGCOR spent $400,000 for the land, with the three local governments each providing $133,333 in tax incentives. A resolution had to be passed by each of the three government entities before the deal could go forward.

AGCOR made an overall capital investment of $6.3 million in the new 128,000-square-foot facility.

AGCOR was heavily recruited by the City of Gadsden before the Good Hope deal was put into place. According to Cullman Economic Development Agency Director Dale Greer, the company reported having been offered a sales tax rebate for the cost of the land elsewhere. Greer told the crowd that such an incentive had never previously been offered here, but city and county leaders found the idea to be a reasonable move to promote local industry and keep an existing business in the area.

Cullman Economic Development Agency Business Development Manager Jamie Troutman got Friday’s ceremony started by sharing some information on the groups that worked together to make this project come to fruition.

“Through a partnership with the Cullman County Commission, the City of Good Hope and the City of Cullman, this locally-grown company has been able to stay in Cullman and expand into this facility that we see today,” she said. “The uniqueness of this project and partnership actually won an international award in 2018 from the International Economic Development Council for business retention and expansion. So, we’re proud that you chose to expand here in the city of Good Hope and in Cullman County.”

AGCOR Steel CEO Zac Smith was next up at the podium and took a few moments to talk about the new facility, as well as one of his partners who helped him build his business into what it is today.

“This has been a long endeavor that I think Scott (Seawright) and myself have been working on for close to two years. We moved in in July, built a facility of 128,000 square feet with an expansion of 9,000 square feet for our steel truss facility. Currently, we’re hovering between 50 and 60 employees,” Smith said. “One thing I want to do is recognize some key, important people in our company that make us run every day and the first one is Scott Seawright. Scott has been a very dynamic partner and I’ll say something I’ve said multiple times, there’s no difference in your wife and your business partner at the end of the day. One of them I go home to at the end of the night and Mr. Scott keeps me in check. He’s the big picture guy and I’m the nuts and bolts guy at the end of the day. We’re very thankful to be able to stay here locally and develop our location here, and we could not have asked for more support than what we’ve gotten from everyone.”

Rep. Corey Harbison, R-Good Hope followed Smith and talked about the partnership that worked to bring AGCOR to Good Hope, commending Smith for building his company locally.

“I think we’re all lucky to be in Cullman because we go to a lot of ribbon cuttings and celebrations and expansions pretty often in the community, but this one is something that is dear to my heart and should be dear to this community’s heart. This is one that was grown right here in our community and you can see where it went from Zac and his bookkeeper to what it is today,” Harbison said. “A lot of these factories here come from all over the world so it’s very impressive to see what Zac has started with his company, what he’s grown it into, and I look forward to seeing what he’s going to do in the future with it. With the partnerships that we have in Cullman County with the City of Cullman, Good Hope and the County, you don’t see it anywhere else in the state.”

Good Hope Mayor Jerry Bartlett spoke about he and Harbison’s first meeting with Smith and touched on Smith’s persistence in helping toward this goal. Bartlett also took a moment to talk about the economic impact he believes the new facility will have on the city of Good Hope and the rest of the community.

“What I remember about this adventure was meeting (Smith) at Waffle House with Corey, and I feel like I saw the birth of what we see today. There were a lot of obstacles to be overcome, but this man right here (Smith) would not hear it. If we said, ‘Hey, this is a problem,’ he’d say, ‘Yeah, but what if?’ By getting the idea and thinking about what could happen if we all did this together, Dale Greer got involved and then the mayor of Cullman got involved and then the County Commission got involved and they started working through these obstacles,” Bartlett said. “From that, this is what we have today and I’m just so proud that I was able to be a part of it. This particular project is a $5.5 million investment. They had 25 employees while they were in Vinemont, and now they have between 50 and 60, and I’m telling you, that’s a big deal for the city of Good Hope- having 50 and 60 people coming right here to our city, buying our gas and just having employees here. I see a lot of my former students working here, and it just makes us really, really proud that we have you here, Zac.”

According to Bartlett, the facility will produce $60,000 annually in property tax with an annual tax revenue of close to $600,000, and the $15 million in sales that AGCOR produces annually will provide more tax revenue for Good Hope and the county as a whole.

Read more on the background of this project at www.cullmantribune.com/tag/agcor-steel.

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Nick Griffin

nick@cullmantribune.com