Despite last week’s backlash over Nike cancelling the sales of its shoes with a Betsy Ross-era American flag design, Nike made an official announcement Thursday that they still had plans to bring the plant to Goodyear. The addition to the state’s economy will create more than 500 jobs.
Arizona Gov. Doug Ducey welcomed a Nike manufacturing facility to Goodyear after he pulled the $1 million grant to the company over controversial shoes and called the company’s decision “good news for Arizona.”
“Arizona is open for business, and we welcome Nike to our state,” he said in a tweet.
Last week, Ducey said he was “embarrassed for Nike” in a series of tweets in which he announced that the Arizona Commerce Authority would be withdrawing the grant over controversial activist and former NFL quarterback Colin Kaepernick calling the shoes offensive.
“Arizona’s economy is doing just fine without Nike. We don’t need to suck up to companies that consciously denigrate our nation’s history,” he said.The Arizona Commerce Authority confirmed that the grant offer had been withdrawn and will not be reinstated. However, that is not stopping Nike.
Goodyear Mayor Georgia Lord said after Ducey’s comments and action, the city has not changed their intentions and is still offering Nike up to $2 million in incentives to keep their plans.
“The city of Goodyear looks forward to the partnership with Nike,” a city spokeswoman said in a statement.
“We are excited to partner with them to bring high-quality jobs, breakthrough technology, and advanced manufacturing to our community.
Nike said in a press release Thursday that building renovations will begin late this summer, and that the production of Nike Air soles is expected to start early next year. The Arizona facility will be the company’s third for Nike Air production. Plans for the building will contain at least 50% recycled manufacturing waste.
“The expansion of Air MI in Arizona helps us keep pace with the growing demand for Nike Air and also greatly increases the size of our U.S. manufacturing footprint,” Nike COO Eric Sprunk said in the release.
“We want to thank the state and city of Goodyear for their partnership as we continue to accelerate our growth.”