Safavieh’s expansion of its warehousing facilities at the Savannah River International Trade Park is the latest expression of its affection for the Port of Savannah as both its manufacturing and distribution of home goods grows in tandem with the growth of the park.
Georgia Gov. Nathan Deal announced on Aug. 16 that the New York-based company would build a 1.1 million-square-foot facility at the trade park to triple Safavieh’s warehouse capacity in the area by the end of 2018.
Safavieh spokesman Kevin Yaraghi told Global Atlanta from New York that the new facility would be the company’s fourth in the area with one now being leased to the GulfStream Aerospace Corp.
Safavieh has conducted business in the Savannah area since 2012 and has cited the port as the key factor in its decision to use the area as its cargo hub for the Southeast.
“We found the right property at the right price,” Mr. Yaraghi said. “And we fell in love with Savannah. It’s a beautiful city and from there we look to benefiting from its logistics connections into the entire Southeast.”
The governor and Georgia economic development officials praised Safavieh’s decision, projected as a $60 million investment that also would create 200 new jobs.
Griff Lynch, executive director of the Georgia Ports Authority, told Global Atlanta that Safavieh’s facility is to be developed by its affiliate Yaraghi Realty on the138-acres making up parcel 3 at the park.
“Company officials have indicated there is room to expand on the location even after the new warehouse is built,” he added, saying that the Safavieh location is one of five new parcels available for development within the trade park, totaling more than 500 acres.
“These sites offer a terrific opportunity to enter the Savannah market in a location that is less than five miles from the Garden City Terminal and adjacent to Interstate 95,” Mr. Lynch said. “The GPA board decided to put the property on the market in January to help fill the demand for space as new and existing customers expand operations.”
Concerning hiring, Mr. Yaraghi said that Safavieh already has encouraged its employees to take Georgia Institute of Technology’s online courses to further their management experience, and that the company is working with the university’s career counsel as it plans to hire new Georgia Tech graduates as well as “old alums.”
Safavieh also will need manual workers for the warehouse, he added, including operators of lift trucks and order pickers.
In recent years, the family-owned company says it has grown by more than 20 percent each year and is poised for even greater growth as it expands its offerings beyond rugs to full lines of furniture, lighting and home decor.
Mr. Yaraghi credited the company’s growth with its investment “at every level in the design, manufacture, and distribution of our fine area rugs, furniture, and home accessories.” He praised its focus on “high-quality, high-styled home decor,” adding that it has been able to attract consumers with varied tastes and budgets.
The company’s Iranian roots are evident in its name, which is derived from that of the Persian Safavid dynasty that ruled the region from the beginning of the 1500s to the 1700s.
At its height the dynasty controlled an area, which included all of modern Iran, Azerbaijan, Bahrain, Armenia, most of Georgia, the North Caucasus, Iraq, Kuwait, and Afghanistan, as well as parts of Turkey, Syria, Pakistan, Turkmenistan and Uzbekistan.
Founded in Isfahan, Iran in 1914, Safavieh began as a supplier of antique oriental rugs to interior designers. The move to New York was forced upon the company due to the Iranian Revolution that led to the overthrow of the Pahlavi dynasty, which was replaced by an Islamic Republic regime under Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeni.
Arash Yaraghi was attending Case Western Reserve University in Cleveland, Ohio, and his brother Cyrus was visiting him, when they heard from their father who was running the business and told them not to return.
Instead he sent his sons Iranian rugs for sale, which they did from a warehouse they acquired on Madison Avenue in 1978. Through emphasizing service and quick delivery of hand knotted and hand tufted rugs, the company grew and three brothers joined them in New York.
Safavieh also expanded its offerings to include furniture, machine-made outdoor and indoor rugs, decorative pillows, bath rug lines, lighting and wall decor.
Mr. Yaraghi said that the company also has facilities in Antwerp, Belgium, from where many of their products manufactured in Europe are shipped to Savannah. The company also exports its products to retailers throughout the world.
For more information, contact Robert Morris, senior director of corporate communications at the Georgia Ports Authority, by sending an email to firstname.lastname@example.org