Avelgem, Belgium-based IVC Group has announced that it is expanding its operations in Dalton creating 200 new jobs and investing more than $80 million through 2019.

IVS US, the group’s U.S. affiliate, is to build a second plant at the company’s Dalton complex to produce a new product line of luxury vinyl planks and tiles.

“It has always been our hope and intention to expand in our great Dalton community which has been our home for a decade now, first as a distributor and since 2011 as a manufacturer,” said Xavier Steyaert, co-CEO of IVC US, in a news release.

Brian Anderson, president and CEO of the Greater Dalton Chamber of Commerce, heralded the expansion as signaling Dalton is becoming “the Flooring Capital of the World – not just the Carpet Capital."

He told Global Atlanta that although the number of carpet firms in the Dalton area in the past 20 years had dwindled to 25 or so due to consolidations and other factors.

The housing slump and a shift from soft floorcoverings to hardwood floors in recent years lowered the demand for carpet. New technologies also eliminated the need for many of those who worked in Dalton's carpet mills resulting in an unemployment rate in the area of more than 10 percent, among the highest in the country.

Nevertheless, more than 60 percent of all the carpet in the U.S. has been produced within a 50 mile radius of the city, he added.

He also said that IVC first came to Dalton with the establishment of a small sales office, joining two other Belgian-owned companies in the area, the carpet manufacturer Beaulieu of America, and U.S. Floors, a manufacturer of hardwood floors.

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In the late afternoon of April 22, 1915, near a small hamlet in the western part of Belgium not far from the town of Ypres, a blueish-green cloud of chlorine gas was pushed along by a northerly breeze over French, Algerian and Moroccan troops prepared to fight from their rows of trenches. More