Georgia chopstick factory goes into receivership

Remember that feel-good story of the little plant in Americus, Ga., that was to send 2 million sets of chopsticks a day to China — and became a something of a symbol of outside-the-box thinking in a tough economy?

The Americus Times-Recorder reports this:

Georgia Chopsticks LLC, 102 Brady Road, Americus was closed Thursday just after 2 p.m. when lawyers descended and the company went into receivership. A temporary restraining order was also in effect so that evidence could not be be destroyed or removed. The court order was signed on April 18 by a Bleckley County judge.

A dozen employees onsite were asked to leave the premises, the newspaper reported. Here’s a taste of the AJC piece on the enterprise from last June:

Let it be known that when China needed more chopsticks, the country of 1.3 billion people turned to the south-central Georgia city of Americus.

It may seem strange that for all the products that China exports to this country, it should need to look outside its borders for — of all things — chopsticks. But the country does not have the wood needed to manufacture enough of the slender utensils, which the majority of Chinese still use and throw away.

In that gap, Jae Lee, the president of Georgia Chopsticks, saw a business opportunity. Lee started his chopsticks business in Cochran, last November, sent a couple of samples overseas, and within a few months needed to expand. The Americus plant cranked up in May and can already produce 2 million chopsticks in a day, sending them primarily to supermarket chains in China but also to companies in Japan, Korea and the United States.

“I knew there was a need, ” Lee said. “I thought I could make a profit.”

Americus turns out to be the perfect place to make chopsticks. The poplar and sweet gum trees that grow like weeds in this region have just the right balance of hardness and softness. Harder woods would dull the blades on the stick-producing machines. The area also has an active forestry industry, most of it geared toward producing pine construction and paper products.

Moreover, Americus — a city of 17,000 people about a two-hour drive south from Atlanta — has an abundant labor force because of its 12 percent unemployment rate (metro Atlanta’s is 9.7 percent) and numerous moribund manufacturing plants. The new plant is expected to offer 150 jobs.

Still, city officials admit they were taken by surprise when the term chopsticks came up. While China has a few hundred producers of them, the U.S. has this factory and little else.

- By Jim Galloway, Political Insider

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28 comments Add your comment

Sonny LIED!

April 20th, 2012
12:27 pm

Glenn Richardson is switching to the DEMOCRATIC party and attempting a comeback. You heard it here FIRST!

Danny O

April 20th, 2012
12:28 pm

Oh fiddlesticks.

Carole

April 20th, 2012
12:37 pm

I can’t imagine people’s memories are that short. Two allegeded suicide attempts, adultery and a bully to boot. I haven’t forgotten.

Aaron Burr V Mexico

April 20th, 2012
12:40 pm

Never bet against America.

Never bet on Americans.

emo

April 20th, 2012
12:46 pm

Must be that darn Obama’s fault. Willard would never have let that factory close.

Aaron Burr V Mexico

April 20th, 2012
12:50 pm

Not only would Willard close that factory and make money on it, he’d take out insurance policies on anyone who killed themselves and trick them into signing their organs over to Dick Cheney.

td

April 20th, 2012
12:59 pm

Aaron Burr V Mexico

April 20th, 2012
12:50 pm

That just means Romney is a great salesman and leader and should be President. Obama is such a poor leader that he could not convince a Republican that the sky was blue.

Weetamoe

April 20th, 2012
1:00 pm

Of course it’s Obama’s fault. Too hard to eat dog with chopsticks. xin nian kuai le
no more Bo Mein for Michelle

Centrist

April 20th, 2012
1:02 pm

Sad story. I wonder what happened.

Richardson is a flake, no matter which party he claims.

td

April 20th, 2012
1:04 pm

Centrist

April 20th, 2012
1:02 pm

From what I have heard it was a good idea but run poorly by management.

emo

April 20th, 2012
1:05 pm

‘ he could not convince a Republican that the sky was blue.’

You can’t convince people of anything who only worship their own hatred. Why try?

Aaron Burr V Mexico

April 20th, 2012
1:07 pm

@Weetamoe – So what are the benefits at ALEC like? You do realize that no matter how many dog meat jokes you make, NO ONE is going to forget torturing a dog on top of your car for 10 hours.

In fact, please continue, because it gives me a chance to show again and again that Mitt and Ann Romney (who was there) are sociopaths.

MORE DOG MEAT JOKES PLEASE! :)

@Totally Disgusting – Good idea and poor management? Sounds like a Contard to me.

Aaron Burr V Mexico

April 20th, 2012
1:09 pm

@Totally Disgusting – Its EASY for Obama to convince contards the sky is blue.

Step 1) Waterboard Ruprect Merduck.

2) Merduck tells the faithful the sky is blue.

3) Million Moron March: “Yes master. The sky is blue. Anything for you master.”

And you HAVE to like that story since it involves waterboarding an enemy of the united states, right Terd Ducken? Right? :)

td

April 20th, 2012
1:14 pm

emo

April 20th, 2012
1:05 pm

‘ he could not convince a Republican that the sky was blue.’

You can’t convince people of anything who only worship their own hatred. Why try?

Then you are admitting that he is not fit to be President. If he can not find a way to work with the opposition (and the Republicans WILL be in control of congress after this election) then he should resign his office and let us find someone that can.

Obama is a nice man but is in way over his head and is not qualified to be President. We have way to many problems in this country to not have a real leader in the white house.

Aaron Burr V Mexico

April 20th, 2012
1:17 pm

@Telligence Dinterupted. Follow the blinky lights in the contard brain.

A – “You can’t convince people of anything if they worship their own hatred.”

Leads to

B – “See! This is why Obama shouldn’t be president. He has to conform to our way of thinking (and the American people will be fooled again by us this election because they are morons) then he should resign so we can get someone who will do what we want.

He’s a special person who I have to pretend to like so I don’t come across as a hateful demon who is clearly overwhelmed because black people were never meant to be in elected office until they are properly tamed like our own special republican black people who do what we tell them to. We have way to many problems we’ve caused not to have someone in the white house to distract people so we can make them worse.”

td

April 20th, 2012
1:21 pm

Aaron Burr V Mexico

April 20th, 2012
1:17 pm

If you change the word black to socialist then you would be pretty factually correct.

td

April 20th, 2012
1:24 pm

oops you would also have to insert conservative instead of black in the following sentence:

“republican black people”

Jack

April 20th, 2012
1:26 pm

Sounds like the owner got greedy.

Aaron Burr V Mexico

April 20th, 2012
1:26 pm

@Totally Disgusting – Of course. Republicans beat the Smurfs hands down.

But instead of “Smurf” you just substitute “Socialist” for anything that they don’t like.

“I absolutely just do not like this socialisty social program. Not enough dead children. Now if we can only make a buck off of this it would be totally socialisty!”

Aaron Burr V Mexico

April 20th, 2012
1:28 pm

@Simple Jack – Jack. You don’t go full out con tard. You only go half way contard. That’s how you get the awards.

Aaron Burr V Mexico

April 20th, 2012
1:28 pm

@Totally Disgusting – Oh…and the fact that you only did a word substitution and accepted the rest of my statement speaks volumes.

ENCYCLOPEDIAS even. :)

honested

April 20th, 2012
2:06 pm

I guess they were counting on illegals a slave labor to keep the ‘chopstikery’ running (just like back in China with the locals). I’m surprised the CofC didn’t come up with some sort of Constitutional Amendment to subsidize production with taxpayer funds (through a special Shady Deal Board).

And to td, are the wrong wing so con-fused they don’t know what color the sky is?

Aaron Burr V Mexico

April 20th, 2012
2:12 pm

@Honested – Freudian slip to acknowledge that they don’t tell the truth.

That is why they are monsters. Deep down they know what they are.

And they just don’t care enough to do anything about it.

Non-Partisan

April 20th, 2012
3:42 pm

This is non-partisan and should not offend anyone:

There are fewer than 8 months until election day when the people will decide who will be the next President of the United States.

The person elected will be the president of all Americans, not just the Democrats or the Republicans.
In that period of time we all need to come together – Democrats and Republicans alike, in a bipartisan effort for America, so we have worked out
A sure fire approach to ensuring that all of us have a chance to assist our chosen political party in its effort to elect its candidate:

So, If you are supporting Gov. Mitt Romney, the Republican nominee, start driving with your headlights ON during the day; If you support Barack Obama,
please drive with your headlights OFF at night. This will differentiate each set of voters.

Together, we can make it happen!

Aaron Burr V. Mexico

April 20th, 2012
5:49 pm

@Non Partisian – Now now. Encouraging Democrats to wait in stealth to gun down Republicans is simply unsporting. Plus, I think in a time of war, night vision goggles should really go to our troops, who need it. Still, your heart (bless it southern style) is in the right place.

Your biggest problem is that to have humor you have to have empathy. Which you don’t.

Because, you are Partisan Hack. :) Have a blessed day. :)

ld

April 20th, 2012
8:46 pm

“Smile when you say that” — or “bless” your target as you take aim?

How very Christian.

Fan of the Americus Sumter PDA

April 20th, 2012
9:31 pm

The Americus Sumter PDA is what is poorly managed. They are responsible for bringing the fly by night company to Americus. With a little background checking they would have found all the problems with the factory and seen the other counties they’ve already been in and had problems there as well. They give everything to any outside company with a pipe dream or scandal looking to locate in Americus and do nothing much less “bend over backwards” for local homegrown businesses that will be here for the long haul. Understandably the little town needs more business but the PDA needs to do their due diligence to at least try to hide the ignorance it has. This makes Americus look like idiots to genuine companies and like suckers to the companies looking for easy money. Way to go PDA. It seems to be becoming a regular routine…

n

April 21st, 2012
9:59 am

The Chinese don’t have wood because they cut down their forests. Georgia is cutting down all it’s hardwood forests and shipping the lumber to China. Not just for chopsticks, but for packing crates, cheap throw-away furniture, cheap throw-away cabinetry, etc., which they ship back to us to be sold at big box stores, and by doing so we are selling out our children’s birthright of 100 year old forests to the Chinese, for a pittance. They have all our money and now they want all our natural resources, because they have decimated their own. And we happily and greedily oblige.