You’ve no doubt seen the distinctive Georgia peach logo that runs in the end credits of movies and television shows produced in the state. But there are plenty of companies and products made here that don’t bear a logo revealing their Peach State connection.
In honor of Manufacturing Day, which is recognized nationally on the first Friday in October, Walton Gas has compiled a list of products you might not know are made right here in Georgia.
- Gulfstream Jets
Aerospace products are Georgia’s No. 1 export and the state’s second largest manufacturing industry. Gulfstream Aerospace Corporation, a major manufacturer of business jets used by private corporations and 35 distinct governments to transport heads of state, is one of the 800 aerospace industries that call our state home. Since 1967, Gulfstream has manufactured business jet aircraft exclusively from its global headquarters in Savannah.
- Golf Carts
The world over, Georgia and golf are synonymous. It’s no surprise then that approximately 90% of the world’s golf carts are also made here. Club Car, E-Z-GO and Cushman have manufacturing locations in, appropriately, Augusta. Yamaha makes its carts in Newnan.
- Bridgestone Golf Balls
And speaking of golf….From its manufacturing facility in Covington, Bridgestone Golf USA makes premium golf balls, clubs and accessories for the world’s best golfers as well as recreational players. Established in Newton County in 1990, the plant manufactures more than 1 billion golf balls annually.
- Blue Bird School Buses
Take a close look at the familiar, big, yellow school buses rolling through town. Chances are, they were made in Fort Valley by some of the 2,000 employees working at the Blue Bird Bus Company, a century-old manufacturer of America’s iconic yellow school buses. The company is now leading the industry in the manufacturing of electric vehicle technology and became the first to market electric school buses in 1994.
- HotHands Warmers
Those air-activated hand warmers so popular with hunters, fishermen and spectators at winter sporting events, have a Georgia connection, too. For over 50 years, Dalton has been the exclusive manufacturing home for HotHands Warmers.
- Kia Vehicles
Kia Motors’ West Point plant is the South Korean automaker’s only U.S. manufacturing facility. The facility manufactures three vehicle models: Telluride CUV, Sorrento CUV and the K5 midsize sedan. The plant’s 3,000 employees produce 340,000 vehicles annually.
- King’s Hawaiian Rolls
Inhale deeply as you drive through Flowery Mound, home to the only King’s Hawaiian bakery east of California. Ovens run 24/7 at the Georgia facility which supplies the sweet rolls to retailers in the eastern U.S. and parts of Canada. Last fall, the company announced it is building a new bread-making facility right across the street from the current one. It opens this fall.
- Bath Towels
That fluffy towel provided in your hotel bathroom was likely made at 1888 Mills in Griffin. The textile manufacturer is one of the last remaining towel manufacturers in the U.S. and a major supplier to the hospitality industry as well as the retail sector, under a variety of brand names and private labels.
Whether you’re a fan or not, few can deny that fruitcakes are a holiday icon in America, and no place is more tied to fruitcake-making than Georgia’s own Claxton. The Evans County town is home to two major bakeries — Claxton Fruit Cake and the Georgia Fruit Cake Co. — that together produce more than four million pounds of fruitcake each year. It’s no wonder then that Claxton can make a case for being the Fruitcake Capital of the United States.
- YKK Zippers
Take a close look at the zipper on your jeans or gym bag. If it’s imprinted with YKK, a fellow probably Georgian made it. At the YKK factory site in Macon, 14 modern plants and over 900 employees produce 7 million zippers a day, in a total of 1,500 styles in more than 427 standard colors. It’s the largest zipper factory in the world.
Georgia companies supply more than 45% of the world’s carpeting and rugs. More than 85% of the entire U.S. carpet and rug market is produced by mills located within a 65-mile radius of Dalton, earning the northern Georgia city the title of Carpet Capital of the World. Mohawk Industries and Shaw Industries, both Georgia headquartered, are collectively responsible for around 3/4 of all carpet production in the United States.
- Ding Dongs
In 2012 Hostess filed bankruptcy and closed all of its factories. In 2013, under new ownership, only four Hostess factories re-opened. One of those baking facilities is located in Columbus. Today, this Georgia facility bakes up Ding Dongs and is the backup baker of Twinkies, keeping the U.S. snack pipeline filled. Fun fact: Hostess produces roughly 500,000,000 Twinkies a year, or roughly 1,000 a minute.
All those online purchases that land on your doorstep in a cardboard box may have a Georgia connection. Georgia leads the nation in the production of paper and board products. Georgia-Pacific, which is headquartered in Atlanta and has its research and development facility in Norcross, has five manufacturing plants around the state. Facilities in Albany and Augusta make corrugated boxes. Georgia-Pacific is one of the nation’s biggest corrugated box manufacturers, serving customers such as e-commerce giant Amazon. GP shares this short video showing how corrugated board is manufactured.
Since they aren’t manufactured, these products don’t fit our “made” in Georgia criteria. However, these are too good to pass up, so here are three products with deep, and interesting, Georgia roots.
You may not know what it is, but you use plenty of products made with kaolin. About 84% of this white, alumina-silicate clay that is used in hundreds of products ranging from paper to cosmetics to the nose cones of rockets comes from Georgia. Sandersville lays claim to the title of Kaolin Capital of the World.
Tifway and Tifgreen — two bermudagrass hybrids named for their place of development at a University of Georgia research facility in Tifton — cover more golf courses, athletic fields and lawns than any other turf varieties in the world.
- Movies and TV shows
Georgia’s film and television industry set a new record for productions in 2022, reports the Georgia Department of Economic Development. This included 32 feature films, 36 independent films, 269 television and episodic productions, 42 commercials and 33 music videos. The state now has the fastest-growing film industry in the nation.