FACTORY VISIT: Gov. Hutchinson tries his hand at the sewing machine. Credit: AEDC

FACTORY VISIT: Gov. Hutchinson tries his hand at the sewing machine. Credit: AEDC

Gov. Asa Hutchinson today visited the Tian Yuan Garments factory at the Little Rock Port and said the company was increasing its original $20 million investment in equipment and buildings to $30 million.

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A news release from the governor’s economic development agency said the plant now employs 160 and is on track to eventually hire 400 as promised in the initial announcement.  The company got some $3 million in incentives and additional tax breaks to locate here.

The facility makes sportswear for Adidas and other brands. The Hutchinson administration says the decision to locate here was an outgrowth of trade trips he’s made to China.

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Hutchinson’s release welcomed the return of textile jobs and foreign investment. Cut-and-sew plants — much lower tech than those today — were the backbone of development efforts in Arkansas in the 1950s and 1960s but that work ultimately migrated to cheaper foreign locations.