Jackson Kayak to expand, open new facility in White County

Investment will total $6.5 million, create 250 new jobs in Sparta

Eric Jackson, owner and co-founder of Jackson Kayak, in 2010/UCBJ File Photo Kevin Burmeister
Eric Jackson, owner and co-founder of Jackson Kayak, in 2010. UCBJ File Photo/Kevin Burmeister

SPARTA – Jackson Kayak is expanding.

The White County company will invest $6.5 million to expand its current operations in Tennessee by opening a new manufacturing facility in Sparta at 3300 McMinnville Highway, the former Philips Lighting building. This expansion will create 250 new jobs in White County.

Jackson Kayak produces whitewater, recreational, fishing and hunting kayaks and high performance coolers. The company has reached its manufacturing capacity in its current 100,000-square-foot facility in Sparta, which is located at 325 Iris Drive. Due to the international popularity of the Jackson Kayak brand and the launch of the new Orion cooler line, the company anticipates sales to double over the next five years.

“In 2002, after eight years of living in an RV full-time with my family, we decided to start our own business,” Jackson Kayak President/Owner Eric Jackson said. “After traveling most of the USA every year, we chose White County and Rock Island as our favorite place to settle down. We originally moved here for the beauty of the area, the temperate weather, the great kayaking and the low cost of living. Then, when we started our business in the fall of 2003, we were very pleasantly greeted with an awesome work force and a very gracious and accommodating county, region, and state. I can’t imagine a better place to live and do business than White County and Tennessee. We are looking forward to our next chapter in White County with our new 300,000-square foot-facility where we intend to continue to grow our business and workforce.”

The announcement was made Wednesday afternoon by Tennessee Gov. Bill Haslam and Economic and Community Development Commissioner Randy Boyd along with Jackson Kayak officials.

“We want to thank Jackson Kayak for expanding in Tennessee and creating these new jobs in Sparta and White County,” Haslam said in a release. “In Tennessee we still make things. Whether its cars or kayaks and coolers, Tennesseans have a reputation for quality, well-made products, and these new jobs are another step in our efforts to become the No. 1 state in the Southeast for high quality jobs.”

“Jackson Kayak is one of our state’s great success stories,” Boyd added. “They started from a small operation and have continued to grow, thanks to a reputation for making the absolute highest quality products, which are now popular all over the world. I am very excited to support Jackson Kayak’s expansion in Tennessee and appreciate the new jobs they are bringing to our communities and the impact this will have on White County and surrounding areas.”

With this additional space, Jackson Kayak will be able to expand manufacturing operations, bring in currently outsourced processes and house a new research and development center.

“For over a decade, Jackson Kayak has proven to be a wonderful addition to this community, and I am so pleased to see them expand into the former Philips Lighting facility and create these new jobs,” White County Executive Denny Wayne Robinson said. “This expansion will make a real difference in the lives of so many people who live in White County. I want to thank everyone who worked so diligently for their help in making this happen.”

“Our partnership with Jackson Kayak started in 2010 when we were able to provide capital for them to buy a vacant building in White County,” Mark Farley, Upper Cumberland Development District Executive Director, added. “Since their move to White County, they have expanded twice and have added over 100 employees. We are now partnering with Jackson Kayak on another expansion that will be adding approximately 250 new employees. We are proud to have been a partner with Jackson Kayak throughout the years. They are a vital part of our local and regional economy with a global footprint offering quality products to customers and providing job opportunities in our communities.”

Production is scheduled to begin in the new facility by the end of this year. Check www.jacksonkayak.com for updates on hiring.

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