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American Apparel to open new plant

When the Marines find those few good men they’ve been looking for, American Apparel wants to make sure their pants fit.

American Apparel Inc., the nation’s leading manufacturer of apparel for the U.S. military, is set to begin operations in a newly opened facility in Opp with the capacity to produce over 10,000 pair of trousers a week. Initially, the new operation will manufacture the new Marine utility uniform, which is the Leathernecks’ standard uniform of the day.

The new facility encompasses more than 40,000 square feet and will employ approximately 120 people to start. With the new facility, the Selma-based firm now boasts a total of some 1,200 workers in Alabama and more than 500,000 square feet of manufacturing space.

Chief Operating Officer James W. Hodo said the Opp site was chosen primarily because of the ready availability of a trained workforce in the area.

He added that the company was also impressed with the strong support of Opp officials, including Mayor Jerry Booth and Commissioner Greg White.

Hodo said that while the company looked at Selma as a possible expansion site, the availability of trained workers was a deciding factor. &uot;We felt like we’ve pretty much taken up the pool of trained sewers here in Selma, and we much prefer to hire trained sewing operators,&uot; he said.

Hodo estimated that the expansion represents a total investment of between $500,00 and $1 million for the company. The plant is located in the former General Manufacturing facility. Plans are to hire all employees, including management, locally.

Operations are set to begin Tuesday.