“GE has made close to a $20 million investment in the LaFayette facility in order to produce these new state-of-the-art ranges and cooktops,” said Len Kosar, general manager for GE cooking products. “This plant has always delivered for GE. The center of our cooking business is here in LaFayette.”
General Electric, Roper’s parent company, is credited with the No. 1 market share for ranges.
“Most of those ranges are made by the employees of the LaFayette plant,” said Scott Ossewaarde, Roper president. “The investment in our facility and the addition of this new appliance production will help secure the jobs of current employees and will add 31 jobs, bringing the total employment to 1,900 people.”
Among those attending last Thursday’s ceremonies were plant executives, representatives of General Electric appliances, employees of Roper, Walker County Commissioner Bebe Heiskell, and Chamber of Commerce President Cynthia Simonds.
Also, Bobbie Sonefeld, reigning $1 million winner of the Pillsbury Bake-Off, was on hand to prepare her winning recipe, cream cheese brownie pie. She and her husband Steve are from Hopkins, S.C., and have two sons, Coleman and Trevor. The couple said they plan to spend the money on “college funds and home improvements.”
Among the new appliances introduced March 22 were:
n GE Profile slide-in and GE Profile drop-in ranges: These products will give a kitchen the look of an expensive custom kitchen without the expense.
n GE Profile electric cooktops: These electronic sensor cooktops are equipped with the same technology that detects cars at a traffic light. They improve performance and efficiency with two innovations — Pan Presence and Pan Sizing.
n GE deep recessed gas cooktops: Features include recessed burners and continuous grates, allowing pans to glide from burner to burner.
n GE Profile Gas-on-glass cooktops: Frameless gas cooktops feature a ceramic glass surface extending to the edge of its burner outputs, making cleaning easy.
Prices for the cooktops range from $1,749 to $1,899, Kosar said.
Guests were treated to a tour of the 1-million-square-foot Roper plant, including stops at its 12 assembly lines.
“It’s all about teamwork here,” said assembly business team manager Neal Gilreath, who led much of the tour. “Our teams are what make us different from anyone else. They’re our competitive advantage.”
After the tour, guests got a taste of Sonefeld’s winning recipe in the test kitchen