Eyeglass maker adding 1,000 jobs in Henry

The company behind Ray-Ban, Oakley and Dolce & Gabbana eyewear plans to expand its McDonough distribution center south of Atlanta, and add 1,000 jobs by the end of this year.

Gov. Nathan Deal’s office and Luxottica Group said Tuesday the company’s expanded North American hub in Henry County will create new positions in manufacturing, distribution and facility administration.

Charlie Moseley, executive director of the Henry County Development Authority, said the deal is the largest announcement by total jobs in Henry in at least the last decade.

Fabrizio Uguzzoni, president of Luxottica Wholesale N.A., said in a news release that the expansion will allow the company to produce and transport prescription glasses “anywhere in the U.S. within 24 to 48 hours.”

“We’re proud to be a global company innovating right here in Atlanta,” he said.

The new jobs will be created as the company rolls out its new production model involving the assembly and distribution of eye wear from the Henry plant.

Jane Lehman, a spokeswoman for Luxottica, said the company is nearly finished with an expansion to the plant on Greenwood Industrial Parkway that nearly tripled the company’s square footage. The new addition is across the street from the original plant.

She said most of the new jobs created will be full-time. Salary information was not immediately available.

Lehman said the facility employed more than 500 before the expansion.

Henry County is a logistics hub for the metro Atlanta and the Southeast. The I-75 corridor provides access to Hartsfield-Jackson International Airport, the ports of Savannah and Brunswick and the state’s rail and freeway network.

“Georgia has had great success in attracting manufacturing and distribution operations to our state,” Deal said in the news release. “Luxottica Group’s decision to expand in Henry County will build upon this momentum and allow the company to quickly and efficiently provide products to customers, suppliers and businesses.”

A request for information about incentives was not immediately returned.

Luxottica’s other brands include Michael Kors, Prada, Ralph Lauren, Tiffany & Co., Valentino and Versace. Luxottica supplies 8,000 retail locations, including Pearl Vision and Lenscrafters outlets.

The Luxottica announcement follows other recent manufacturing deals in Georgia in recent months, including an Adidas shoe factory in Cherokee and Sentury Tire in LaGrange.

Moseley, the development authority chief, called Luxottica “a milestone project for Henry County.”

He said the new expansion will total about 750,000 square feet on three floors. The new jobs will include about 600 manufacturing positions.

Henry officials were involved in talks for the project for more than a year, and other states were in the mix, Moseley said.

“I think this is a company that we will continue to see grow here,” he said.

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