High Tech Coming To Stone County

A small South Mississippi town may soon become a heavy hitter in the market of jumbotrons and casino marquees. Solare is set to begin production next month in Wiggins. Officials say Solare will be the only company in the country that designs, constructs, installs and service high-tech signage.

Workers are busy turning the old Wiggins pickle factory into a high tech manufacturing plant. Solare executives hope to have the assembly line up and running by June 15.

Solare Senior Vice President Scott Andraschko said, "We'll manufacture anywhere from custom hotel room plaques with company logos on them as well as the large LED video screens that you see. People call them Jumbotrons. It's like a replay board on a stadium. To a main marquee and a pylon sign for a casino."

Solare is a new division of the Atlanta based Technical Innovations. The company considered building Solare in Atlanta.. before seeing what South Mississippi had to offer.

"We believe the people in this area have a lot of pride and we want to have those types of folks in our facility working the same pride building our signage," said Andraschko. "Also the hurricane wiped out a lot of the signs in the region and we see potential here."

Solare's high tech signs are already developing a national reputation. The company has contracts in Colorado, Connecticut, South Dakota among other places. Still they plan to make South Mississippi their showcase.

"Since this is our back yard and everybody always wants their back yard to look nice that's what we want," said president Craig Katt. "When people come down to tour we want to be able to take them around the area and say this is Solare. This is Solare."

Stone County officials say they're excited about the chance to diversify the local economy.

County supervisor Duncan Hatten said, "This is kind of a high tech industry and that is exactly what we've been looking for. We're glad to have something that is not timber related that will help us keep our workforce busy."

Solare officials say they plan to eventually hire more than 200 employees at the Wiggins plant.