Gratitude was the theme of grand opening ceremony held for Yorozu Automotive Alabama Tuesday in Jasper. Yorozu officials expressed their gratitude to have found a home in Jasper, while Jasper officials showed their gratitude for the automobile part supplier locating in the city.
The Yorozu facility in Jasper currently employs more than 150 people and expects to employ 300 by 2020. Toshiyuki Yago, president of Yorozu Automotive Alabama, said Jasper had become a second home in his time in the city.
“I have been in America for 16 years. My home is in Japan, but my second home has become Jasper,” he said during a celebration luncheon at the Jasper Civic Center.
Mayor David O’Mary spoke of the benefits Yorozu has already brought to the area.
“This is a company that is a fine employer, but also a fine member of our community,” O’Mary said during a ceremony held Tuesday morning at the Yorozu plant. “The jobs they have brought to our community is one thing, but the work they’ve done to become a part of our community shows the interest they have in seeing Jasper be successful.”
The grand opening ceremony was led by Sen. Greg Reed (R-Jasper), and included speeches from Yago, O’Mary, Consul General of Japan in Atlanta Takashi Shinozuka, Alabama Secretary of Commerce Greg Canfield and CCO of Yorozu Corporation Kazumi Sato.
“This is a great day for Jasper and Walker County,” Reed said as he opened the program. “This grand opening is the culmination of a lot of hard work. I’m proud to look around and see the faces of the people who made this possible and helped to build this relationship between Jasper and Yorozu.”
David Knight, executive director of the Walker County Development Authority, said working on the Yorozu project has been an honor.
“This project has been a privilege to work on with our local officials and officials with Yorozu,” Knight said. “Teamwork between a lot of entities made this happen, and I appreciate everyone who has had a hand in making today a reality.”
The ceremony at the Yorozu facility included a ribbon cutting, a tree planting and tours of the plant. The luncheon, which was catered by Warehouse 319, included a traditional Japanese dance for good luck and a sake ceremony and toast.
Yorozu is a Tier 1 automotive supplier that does metal stamping of suspension components. The $110 million facility began production in 2017 with full production expected by 2020.