SAVANNAH, GA (WTOC) - Five years ago, a veteran-owned clothing company in Savannah started with the mission of symbolizing patriotism, hope, and trust in one's country.
The building that houses machinery and employees and product is just as much home to an American Dream.
"Only in this country can this type of dream take place," said Daniel Merritt, Nine-Line, Co-founder.
Nine-Line Apparel introduced its new operations facility on Thursday - 60,000 square feet on the south side of Savannah that grew from imagination and hard work - just five years from home business to production plant employing 150 workers for the veteran-owned, local business.
"Well, this is a very good occasion on many fronts. First of all, this is a start-up company that has been successful, and now we're celebrating their expansion," said Governor Nathan Deal, R, Georgia.
Governor Nathan Deal elevated that celebration, helping cut the ribbon on the new facility that will allow Nine Line to make more shirts - and more livelihoods.
"Right now, we're hovering around 150 full-time employees, that being done in five years is a pretty great accomplishment. The holiday season, we're always going to get a bump, maybe 15 percent bump, and then it usually stays that way, so we get a big growth. It flattens out and we end of keeping those employees anyway, so we'll probably continue to grow employment-wise by about 10 percent every year," Merritt said.
The new facility represents massive growth for Nine Line - more than 4,000 percent over the last three years for a company owned by veterans and fully-committed to honoring the military.
"It's good to see that someone can encourage the importance of our veterans and patriotism to our country, and that's been the bottom line for the success of Nine Line," Gov. Deal said.
"It's so humbling to have the governor here. It really says a lot that he would take the time to recognize a veteran-owned business in Georgia. I couldn't be prouder to have the governor here," said Merritt.
For the last two years, Nine Line has ranked among the 100 fastest growing companies in America, according to Inc. Magazine.