PARIS, TEXAS -- For the first time since it closed in 2009, the old Sara Lee factory opened its doors Thursday. This time, to new business.
Texas Governor Rick Perry welcomed Omaha-based J. Skinner Baking Company to Paris.
"They could be anywhere in the country. They could be anywhere in the world. And they chose this city," Governor Perry said.
The Texas Enterprise Fund is giving 1.8 million dollars to help the baked goods manufacturer settle in Paris.
The plant will employ up to 900 workers, generating 25 million in capital investment.
"I want to say thanks just to the people of Paris for continually working and for creating the workforce," Perry said.
Texas has the second largest manufacturing industry in the nation, an industry that was hit hard between 2001 and 2010, when the U.S. lost nearly a third of its manufacturing jobs: a shockwave felt here in Paris.
"You know, Paris has been up and down economically, if you will, over the course of the years," Perry said.
Few understand that as well as Kasey Floyd.
"Very emotional," Floyd said.
Floyd was working at Sara Lee when it closed its doors unannounced.
That misfortune turned around when Skinner Baking hired him, making him their first Paris employee.
"It's going to be good for the company. It's going to bring a lot of people back," Floyd said.
These women worked the croissant line at Sara Lee. They too hope to get hired at Skinner.
"It's just a blessing to be here right now. This is the best Christmas present that all us can get," Letrice Dangerfield said.
"For the people who are going to be employed here this is a great day. People who are going to be able to take care of their family better because the Skinners believe in this community, they believe in this facility," Perry said.
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