The shuttered Owen Manufacturing plant on Warren Wilson College Road, which at one time employed close to 1,000 people, will start buzzing with activity again when its new owners begin operations there later this year. National Wiper Alliance, an Asheville manufacturer of industrial wipes and cloths, recently purchased the plant for more than $1.2 million.
National Wiper will close its Asheville and Henderson County facilities and consolidate its operations in Swannanoa by fall of this year. The company employed about 53 people at the time it purchased the Owen plant, and recently hired another dozen workers.
National Wiper president Jeff Slosman is a native of the area, and although he had opportunities to move the company elsewhere, he wanted to remain in Western North Carolina. In a January Asheville Citizen-Times article about the purchase of the Owen plant, Slosman said it was “exciting to give life back to one of the properties in the Valley that has such a history with it. Normally these days, businesses are shutting down.”
Slosman and his family attended the Taste of Swannanoa event earlier this month. After experiencing Swannanoa’s great food and hospitality, Slosman commented that he and his family “really appreciated how welcome everyone made us feel.” He said he was very happy that National Wiper was moving its operations to Swannanoa. “It seems to be a very tight knit community and we look forward to being a part of it.”