TanTec execs stick to Jan. 1 target date to open

Published 11:04 am Tuesday, August 19, 2014

ISA TanTec executives didn’t come off the Jan. 1 target date to start production in Warren County, to be its first U.S. plant, company executives said during a tour of Vicksburg on Monday.

CEO Tom Schneider told city and port officials the German-invested leather tannery hopes to have a grand opening ceremony May 29, 2015. In July, the company, Warren County and CalsonicKansei agreed on a $1.5 million sale price for the 140,000 square-foot former auto parts supply plant at Ceres industrial park.

Schneider and a handful of executives told the Warren County Port Commission the company hopes to add to the 366 jobs they’ve pledged to create in the next five years.

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“We’re in talks with Walmart to supply them with belts with our leather that is made in India,” Schneider said, adding the endeavor could grow to stores nationwide. “We’ll start little bit by little bit, until we cover the whole United States.”

The county has applied for a $2 million capital improvement loan to purchase the building. Terms call for it to be repaid over 15 years. About $2.65 million in state money will be tapped to build a wastewater treatment system and improve roads around the building. Clearwater Consultants, which advises the port board on the treatment system for the Tyson Foods plant, is expected to design and construct the one for TanTec. No formal vote was taken Monday on the item as the five-member panel met.

ISA TanTec, which tans and packs raw leather at plants in China and Vietnam, sells leather to shoe makers including Timberland, Wolverine, Deckers, Clarks, Merrell, Sperry, Rockport and New Balance, among other apparel makers.