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INDEPENDENCE — Med-Fit Systems Inc., manufacturer of Nautilus commercial products, announced Thursday that the first treadmill rolled off the line in the Independence manufacturing facility after the company brought production back from China.
"In an era when more and more suppliers to the industry are taking their products and jobs overseas, we are doing just the opposite, said Dean Sbragia, CEO of Med-Fit Systems Inc. “After careful analysis, we determined that we could compete favorably on price and exceed quality and innovation criteria by returning it to our own plant."
Bringing the treadmill line back to American soil has added four jobs for Grayson County and it is anticipated there will be more openings as other product lines return to Independence, according to a Med-Fit press release.
The company now employs 104 people at the Virginia plant.
"The recent efforts made by Med-Fit Systems to return production of many of Nautilus' product lines back to U.S. soil are greatly appreciated by the county and it demonstrates the strong commitment the Med-Fit leadership has to its community, its employees and its future,” said Jonathan D. Sweet, Grayson County administrator.
“Moreover, we are pleased to see that employment levels are increasing as a result of the strategic positioning Med-Fit is making in the marketplace and we are encouraged that Nautilus products will continue to be the industry leader in strength equipment,” Sweet added.
Prior to the treadmill line returning home, the Nautilus F3 Free Weight line returned to the Independence manufacturing facility and added multiple jobs.
"The county and commonwealth of Virginia played a vital role in the acquisition by Med-Fit of the Nautilus commercial plant,” added Sbragia. “It is with great pride that we can now provide more jobs for hard-working Virginians, by bringing this iconic brand home."
Med-Fit Systems Inc. is a 23-year-old physical therapy and senior care products provider located in Southern California. In February 2010, the company purchased the assets of the commercial fitness equipment division from Nautilus Inc.
Sweet celebrated the announcement at the board of supervisors meeting last Thursday night, noting that the county’s unemployment rate had risen to 11.6 percent.
Out of 134 jurisdictions in the Commonwealth of Virginia, Sweet said Grayson County ranked 127th in terms of unemployment level.
“We are consistently over 11 percent,” Sweet said, noting that the county had an average unemployment level of 11.1 percent in 2009 and 11.9 in 2010. Looking at the localities around Grayson, Sweet said the City of Galax ranked 118th and Carroll County ranked 109.
“If you look at the Twin Counties as a region, our unemployment is high,” Sweet continued. “If it wasn’t for the work of strategic partnering… that unemployment number would be significantly higher.”