HUNTINGDON, Tenn., Mar 24, 2011 -- "Sillco, Inc. is proof that American companies can use service, ingenuity and experience to successfully compete for manufacturing jobs thought lost to overseas workers," said Carroll Bank and Trust President Michael Cary.
Cary, the Sills family and workers at Sillco, Inc. were joined by U.S. Rep. Stephen Fincher and USDA Rural Development State Director Bobby Goode today at the company headquarters in Huntingdon to celebrate the successful merger of three local manufacturers into a single more competitive company.
"Nothing is more important than job creation during these tough economic times," said Fincher. "The ability for us to create jobs will increase individual opportunity, restore our fiscal house and build hope for tomorrow. It is the actions we take today that are an investment in our future. I could not be more pleased in having this opportunity here today."
For 21 years Bill Sills Sportswear, Inc. and Sillsports, Inc. have manufactured quality cheerleader uniforms for the largest distributor in the U.S. In 2008 that distributor moved production off shore. Rather than shutter the company, the Sills family and staff took a leap of faith and expanded their business, creating the new company brand Sillsport Cheer and adding their own sales and marketing staff.
They cut out the middle man and began offering design, manufacture and delivery under one roof. The one-stop-shop has proven to be popular with many institutional customers as well as numerous high schools and youth groups across the southeast.
Another local company, Hatchie Bottom Outdoor Products, has also seen demand increase for its popular outdoor apparel, seat covers and accessories. Hatchie products sell through retail stores and catalogs of national companies like Cabela's, Bass Pro and Gander Mountain.
Like many in their industry, the peaks and valleys of seasonal demand presented a challenge for manufacturers with year-round costs and workers. By combining the manufacture of their product lines the new company, Sillco, Inc., benefits from offsetting demand cycles, improved cash flow and year round production demand.
USDA Rural Development helped make the merger possible by providing a rural business loan guarantee to Carroll Bank and Trust, which provided financing and operational capital for Sillco, Inc. Business loan-guarantees are also available to help private lenders to increase the pool of investment capital available for business start-up, acquisition, modernization and expansion in eligible rural areas.
"Small business is the economic engine of rural communities, creating jobs and helping maintain a healthy, diversified local economy," said Goode. "Thanks to the support of Congressman Fincher, Rural Development has the financial resources to make this investment in the future of Carroll County."
Others participating in the event included Gov. Bill Haslam's representative Huntingdon Mayor Dale Kelly, Carroll County Mayor Kenny McBride, Carroll County Chamber Executive Director Brad Hurley, Tennessee Economic and Community Development Field Representative Janna Hellums, Northwest Tennessee Development District representative Ken Thorne, Carroll County Bank and Trust Executive Vice President Billy Tines and RD Area Director Harriet Cannon and Area Specialist Van Wylie.
USDA Rural Development invests in jobs, infrastructure, homeownership and affordable rental housing in rural communities. Over the last two years the agency has assisted more than 1.5 million Tennessee families and businesses, investing more than $1.3 billion through affordable loans, loan guarantees and grants. More than 86 percent of these investments will be paid back with interest. The rest is at work creating jobs, broadening the local tax base and increasing opportunities in education, training, healthcare and public safety.
For more information on Rural Development programs available in southwest Tennessee contact the Rural Development Area Office in Jackson at 731-668-2091 ext. 2, toll free at 800-342-3149 ext. 1495, in Union City at 731-885-6480 ext. 4, toll free at 800-342-3149 ext. 1497 or online at www.rurdev.usda.gov/tn.
USDA is an equal opportunity provider, employer and lender. To file a complaint of discrimination, write USDA, Director, Office of Civil Rights, 1400 Independence Avenue, S.W., Washington, D.C. 20250-9410,
or call (800) 795-3272 TDD (615) 783-1397