OPELIKA, Alabama — Governor Robert Bentley and representatives of the Alabama Department of Commerce today joined Pharmavite LLC, one of the largest U.S. manufacturers of high-quality vitamins, minerals and other dietary supplements, in cutting the ribbon for the opening of the company’s new Opelika facility.
Gov. Robert Bentley, Secretary of Commerce Greg Canfield, House Speaker Mike Hubbard and local and state governmental leaders joined Pharmavite officials for the ceremony.
“Lee County has been nationally recognized as a great place to live, to work and to do business,” Governor Bentley said during the ceremony. “It’s always a privilege to celebrate new jobs.”
Bentley said Pharmavite fits into the state’s Accelerate Alabama economic development plan, an effort to recruit businesses, retain them and help them excel. “We are committed to helping you succeed,” Bentley told company executives today.
He later told reporters that Lee County is a “very progressive area of the state” which benefits from good leadership and good schools. The county’s 4.9 percent unemployment rate in April was the second lowest rate in the state.
Pharmavite makes vitamins and supplements, including Nature Made vitamins. Nature Made is the No. 1 retail national vitamin and supplement brand in the United States, and the new facility is a key part of Pharmavite’s strategic plan to meet the growing global consumer demand for health and wellness products.
The Opelika facility currently employs approximately 245 employees and expects to have 260 employees by year end at the company’s new facility at the Northeast Opelika Industrial Park. As part of the project, Pharmavite invested approximately $73 million in capital in 2012 and will invest an additional $16.6 million in 2013. The company picked Opelika over a site in South Carolina back in 2011.
“Pharmavite has been a pioneer in this industry for more than 40 years. Our new facility in Opelika will help us continue our leadership role and supports our vision of people creating new products for better health worldwide, which is the mission we share with our parent company, Otsuka Pharmaceutical Co. Ltd.,” said Doug MacLean, chief executive officer of Pharmavite. “We are grateful to everyone who contributed to the planning and building process for our new Opelika facility, and we look forward to a bright future for this community, our company, and the vitamin and supplement industry as a whole.”
Pharmavite says the U.S. dietary supplement industry has tripled in size since 1995 and is projected to grow at a similar annual pace through 2020. The company says the new facility is well-positioned to help it meet that need. Growth in the U.S. dietary supplements market has been driven by greater consumer awareness and usage of vitamins and supplements; according to the Nutrition Business Journal, 66 percent of American adults in 2010 used dietary supplements at least occasionally, up from 52 percent in 1999.
Mark Walsh, chief operating officer of Pharmavite , said the 330,000-square-foot Opelika facility is one of the largest vitamin, mineral and supplement manufacturing facilities built in the U.S. during the last 10 years. “This facility is also the first dietary supplement manufacturing facility in Alabama, bringing a new industry to the state,” he added.
As part of Pharmavite’s commitment to improving the environment, the facility is the first major vitamin and supplement manufacturing site in the United States to be Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) certified from the U.S. Green Business Council.