vijon

The company that manufactures Germ-X hand sanitizer and other personal care products said Wednesday it is investing $45 million in an expansion of its Smyrna factory.

Vi-Jon’s project will create 64 jobs to go with the roughly 600 the company already employs in Rutherford County. Tracing its roots to 1908, Vi-Jon is now fully owned by its more than 1,500 employees who run five manufacturing plants and distribution centers in Missouri and Tennessee. In addition to sanitizer, the company also makes mouthwash, hair care and first-aid products.

The Vi-Jon name came to Middle Tennessee in 2006, when both it and locally based peer Cumberland Swan were acquired by Berkshire Partners, a Boston-based private equity firm. Cumberland Swan, which had been founded in Chattanooga, had over time relocated all its operations to Smyrna, a process it completed in 1981.

The expansion plan from Vi-Jon — whose board of directors late last year added former Dollar General executive Susan Lanigan to its ranks — is a nice win for Rutherford County, which is Middle Tennessee’s factory hub and is home to more than 250 manufacturing companies.

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