By Stephen Nakrosis
Nike Inc. (NKE) said Thursday it will move forward to open a new factory in Arizona, the company's third location dedicated to production for its Nike Air shoes.
The new Nike Air Manufacturing Innovation factory in Goodyear, Arizona, is expected to create over 500 full-time jobs, the company said.
The move comes after the company pulled its Air Max 1 USA sneaker from stores, as it had a "Betsy Ross" flag on the heel. The Wall Street Journal reported Nike made the decision after NFL player-turned-activist Colin Kaepernick told the company that the flag was symbol he and others consider offensive, according to people familiar with the matter.
After that decision, the Republican Governor of Arizona, Doug Ducey, told a state agency to withdraw a $1 million grant that had been offered to Nike.
Earlier this month, as reported in The Wall Street Journal, Goodyear Mayor Georgia Lord said the town would still offer incentives to Nike, as the proposed factory would provide jobs and investment in the community.
Nike said building renovations in Goodyear will be started later in the summer and production of soles for Nike Air shoes is expected to begin early next year. Nike also said hiring for the new plant will begin immediately.
"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. We want to thank the State and City of Goodyear for their partnership as we continue to accelerate our growth," said Nike Chief Operating Officer Eric Sprunk.
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