Largest manufacturer of X-ray protection to expand to Hildale, bringing 100 jobs and furthering town’s rebrand

Building on Pinion Street where Infab will expand operations later this year in Hildale, Utah, photo date not specified | Background image courtesy of Google Maps; announcement sign by Pialhoovik/iSock/Getty Images Plus, St. George News

ST. GEORGE — In a deal finalized Friday, a California-based company is expanding its operations with a manufacturing facility in Hildale, bringing nearly 100 new jobs and an economic boost to the town.

The town of Hildale, Utah, date not specified | Photo courtesy of the Utah Attorney General’s Office, St. George News

The nation’s largest manufacturer of X-ray protection gear, Infab, has acquired a 60,000-square foot facility in the town nestled along the Utah-Arizona border. The company’s decision to bring its business to Hildale is thanks in part to a series of massive projects the town government has implemented to rebuild the community’s infrastructure and strengthen municipal services, in addition to financial incentives to offset costs.

“This is a giant step forward for Hildale’s economic growth and development,” Hildale Mayor Donia Jessop said Friday.

The move will bring nearly 100 jobs to the area, Jessop said, helping to bring financial stability to many families and “turn things around in Hildale.”

Don Cusick, Infab’s chairman of the board, said the decision to expand the company’s operations to Hildale was based on several factors, including the community’s pool of skilled employees and a facility capable of providing plenty of room for operations.

The community’s strong work ethic also played an important role in the decision to make the move to Southern Utah, Cusick said, which mirrors Infab’s culture in many ways.

The company is impressed with the region as a whole and wants “to be a part of all of Southern Utah,” Cusick said.

The acquisition of the Hildale facility closed Friday, and the company is expected open for operations in late fall of this year.

Infab’s expansion was in the works for several months, said Travis Parry, a broker for St. George-based Linx Commercial Real Estate. The company was looking for properties in Nevada initially but in the end chose Hildale due to costs and other factors.

Infab’s headquarters in Camarillo, Calif., Circa 2015 | Photo courtesy of Google Maps, St. George News

“This is a game-changer for Hildale,” Parry said.

The new jobs will allow many families returning to live in Hildale to work locally instead of having to commute.

“There is a great labor force in Hildale that is ready and willing to work, which is the perfect scenario here,” Parry said.

Newera manufacturing, the company that currently occupies the building, is moving to Cedar City, Parry said, where many of the company’s employees now live.

In addition, two companies, Preferred Barrel Blanks and Match Grade Machine, will soon occupy a 27,000-square foot building on Pinion Street — yet another boon to Hildale’s business development.

Rebranding Hildale 

The support of a strong city government intent on encouraging economic development played a key role in Infab’s decision to expand into Hildale, Parry said, particularly with the town’s shifting demographic that previously presented a number of challenges in bringing new companies to the area.

In the wake of the watershed municipal election in 2017, there have been challenges and triumphs throughout the monumental transition for the town that had long been controlled by the Fundamentalist Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints.

While plans for reshaping Hildale’s business landscape were well underway even before the election, once the municipal government transitioned after the electoral upset in which Jessop and several other non-FLDS candidates took power, those plans were finally put into action.

Hildale Mayor Donia Jessop and council members address questions during a City Council meeting in Hildale, Utah, May 16, 2018 | Photo by Cody Blowers, St. George News

“When the leadership changed, everything changed, and since then things have moved at lightning speed,” Jessop said.

Jessop’s focus all along has been to increase commercial and business development to reduce the economic disparity plaguing the area, an economic boon the town desperately needs.

Starting on the home front, the town’s decaying infrastructure was addressed, including paving a number of well-traveled dirt roads, improving the town’s water system and installing a fiber-optic network to provide dependable internet to the 5,000 residences and businesses — an enormous project that is still in the works.

From there, the town went through a series of beautification projects. To open up the area visually, many of the tall fences surrounding a majority of homes in Hildale were removed, and the structures were repaired, repainted and landscaped to enhance the beauty of the homes nestled along the valley.

Another goal behind the massive overhaul was to enhance the sense of belonging in Hildale, a goal the mayor has been very vocal about since before the election.

Historically, the town had been closed to public scrutiny until a series of court battles, lost homes and demographic changes focused a spotlight on “Short Creek.” This, Jessop said, resulted in the community losing a sense of belonging, history and pride.

“We needed to change that,” Jessop said.

The town’s demographics have undergone a dramatic shift as well, with the vast majority of the population now comprised of non-FLDS persons.

Jessop hopes to protect the community’s small-town feel while also creating a thriving tourism industry, bringing new businesses into the area and providing residents with greater opportunities.

“We are the backyard to Zion, and it’s beautiful here,” she said, “so our focus is still to develop the tourism industry as part of rebuilding the town.”


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