President Donald Trump is cutting the ribbon at the opening ceremony of Louis Vuitton’s new workshop Thursday near Keene in Johnson County.
Bernard Arnault, chairman of LVMH conglomerate that owns the French luxury brand, will join Trump at the opening. A fundraiser in downtown Fort Worth precedes the workshop visit, which will be followed by a planned political rally in Dallas.
The two billionaires will be accompanied by Donald Trump’s daughter Ivanka Trump, Jared Kushner and several LVMH top executives.
“Thanks to the Trump Admin’s economic policies @LVMH
will open Louis Vuitton Rochambeau in Texas,” Ivanka Trump said in a tweet on Wednesday. “Along with this investment, LVMH CEO Bernard Arnault Pledged for 1,000 NEW opportunities for local artisans & leather craftsmen.”
The 100,000-square-foot Louis Vuitton handbag workshop, located in a 256 acres land at 5500 blocks of County Road 316, currently employs about 150 employs. Louis Vuitton plans to increase the employment number to 1,000 in the next few years.
The company is one of more than 300 organizations that have signed the Trump Administration’s Pledge to America’s Workers, an initiative that aims to create jobs in the U.S. and train and re-skill American workers.
Other companies that have pledged to the initiative include big names like, Apple, AT&T, Amazon and Boeing among others.
Louis Vuitton’s new handbag workshop has jobs ranging from $12 per hour and up. Most of the manufacturing employs are local residents.
“We’re going to benefit greatly off the employees and utilizing the sales tax within the city and housing and things like that,” said Landis Adams, Keene’s Office of Economic Development director.
Luring the high-end fashion brand into the rural town of little over 6,000 people, however, had some costs associated with it.
Keene City Council had approved a $1.25 million capital funds grant to widen road leading up to the new factory. It was to accommodate an expected increase in traffic from the employees, according to city council documents. The road construction works are still in progress.
In Oct. 2017, the Johnson County Commissioners Court approved a tax abatement of about $91,000 to incentivize Louis Vuitton.
“It’s really positive to tell somebody that we have Louis Vuitton in our county,” Adams said.
“Who wouldn’t want the president in their town,” he added. “I mean, it’s a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity.”