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WAYCROSS, GA-Atlanta-based Simmons Co. has selected this city as the site for its 19th mattress-manufacturing plant. The company has chosen a 42.5-acre industrial park off the US 1 bypass GA82 for the construction of its 215,000-sf plant which will employ a staff of 225, the privately held company reports.

Simmons picked the local site after it was outbid on a 205,729-sf lease at its Jacksonville, FL plant where it has operated for 50 years. The new plant, about 200 miles southeast of Downtown Atlanta, is expected to open in May 2004.

Plans for the local operation come as speculation continues that Simmons’ majority owner, Fenway Partners Inc. of New York, may sell the mattress company. Fenway bought Simmons in 1998 for $500 million, according to area retail consultants.

Simmons posted 2002 sales of $670 million and net income of $24 million. The company has 3,000 workers and licensing contracts in 92 countries.

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