ELBA, Ala. (WDHN) — A Kansas-based transformer manufacturer plans to make a $5 million investment in Western Coffee County.

It’s one of the largest production facilities planned for Elba since the domestic textile industry was the area’s major employer before the NAFTA agreement led to those jobs moving overseas in the 1990s.

Sunbelt Solomon, based in Solomon, Kansas, plans to invest $5 million in an old moving storage building on Industrial Boulevard in Elba. The facility will repair and restore electric transformers that are located on power poles. By locating in the south, Elba Mayor Tom Maddox says it’ll be closer to the company’s customer base. Hurricanes, tornadoes, and bad weather have led to thousands of transformers being put off service in just the last few years.

Mayor Maddox says “We had a lot of conversations from the fella from Pennsylvania and he liked Elba. He also thought the people from Elba were the people that he would like to be associated with, and we felt the same way toward him.”

Some 30 years ago in the 1990s the North American Free Trade Act, otherwise known as NAFTA would send thousands of wiregrass textile jobs overseas, and Elba was not excluded.

“Certainly hope we’ll have people look at working here from Brantley, Opp, Enterprise, New Brockton, Kinston surrounding areas that would be great. We have a lot of people from Elba who drive out of town to work. We hope that many will cut the driving time and stay here to work,” said the mayor.

With job opportunities spanning from $18 to $37 per hour, a local business recruiter says the plant will offer 45 percent higher than the annual salary range for manufacturing jobs in Coffee County.

Later this Spring, the company plans to hold a job fair. The company hopes to be operating by September.