🇺🇸 Opelika is a city in and the county seat of Lee County in the east-central part of the U.S. state of Alabama. It is a principal city of the Auburn-Opelika Metropolitan Area. The Auburn-Opelika, AL MSA, along with the Columbus, Georgia metropolitan area, comprises the Greater Columbus combined statistical area. Opelika is located in north-central Lee County, and is bordered by Auburn to the west. Opelika lies in the southern reaches of the Piedmont Plateau, and straddles the divide between the Tallapoosa and the Chattahoochee river watersheds.
The city is located along Interstate 85, which runs east of the city, with access from exits 58, 60, 62, 64, and 66. I-85 leads north-east 101 mi (163 km) to Atlanta and south-west 62 mi (100 km) to Montgomery. U.S. Routes 280 and 431 also run through the city as well, with US 280/431 leading south-east 27 mi (43 km) to Phenix City. After splitting in the city, US 280 leads north-west 28 mi (45 km) to Dadeville, and US 431 leads north 23 mi (37 km) to LaFayette.
Economy Opelika is located between the Hyundai-Kia automobile manufacturing facilities with the Kia Motors manufacturing plant about 18 miles (29 km) east on I-85 and the Hyundai Motors manufacturing plant about 67 miles (108 km) west on I-85/I-65.
Opelika's economy has shifted away from a traditional basis in textile manufacturing. Since 2004, the city has experienced revitalisation in many segments of the economy, including commercial, residential and industrial activity. Since 2005, the City of Opelika has announced new industry investments and existing industry expansions totalling 1.5 billion and 4,000 additional jobs.
On February 17, 2015, Golden State Foods Corp, a diversified supplier to the quick-service restaurant and retail industries, announced its decision to build a state-of-the-art meat processing facility in the Northeast Opelika Industrial Park. Golden State Foods was established in 1947 and currently serves more than 125,000 restaurants from its 45 locations on five continents. With about 5,000 associates world-wide, Golden State Foods' core businesses include processing and distribution of liquid products, meat products, produce, dairy, and other services, providing a variety of networked solutions for the total supply chain spectrum.
Pharmavite, a manufacturer of high-quality vitamins, minerals, and other dietary supplements, has invested $151.9 million in capital and added 540 jobs to the Opelika workforce. Cumberland Plastic Solutions, a privately held custom injection moulding company employing over 150 employees and supplying locale OEM’s and automotive manufacturers Mercedes, Nissan, and GM with various plastic components has invested a total of $25.7 million in capital. Dinan Engineering, a company known for the high-performance after-market products it makes for cars, relocated to Opelika, Alabama joining APR in April 2018. Car Tech, LLC established operations in Opelika, Alabama with a capital investment of $72 million and created 200 new jobs. Additionally, Yongsan Automotive USA, Inc. established its first U.S. location in Opelika, Alabama with and investment of more than $5.5 million for manufacturing equipment and building improvements along with the creation of 150 new jobs over a three-year period. Also, West Fraser Inc., one of the largest lumber manufacturers in the United States, with 45 facilities in the southern U.S. and Western Canada, offers sustainable forestry, high-efficiency wood products. With a total capital investment of $148.3 million, and an expansion announced in 2019 to construct a planner mill manufacturing capabilities will increase.
In early 2006, the Economic Development Association of Alabama named Opelika the top community in Alabama for business recruitment for the year 2005. Opelika also received the number one rank in the South as "Small Market of the Year" by Southern Business and Development magazine, a professional publication helping corporations around the country (and world) in their expansion, relocation, and development decisions. The city earned its #1 status through its success in bringing in such companies as Baxter International, an Illinois-based company that manufactures life-sustaining medical products including dialyzers has invested a total of $466 million in capital and added 360 jobs to the workforce in Opelika. Previously known as Gambro Renal Products, the Swedish-based manufacturer of dialyzers for kidney dialysis made the largest single initial investment in Lee County’s history in 2005 with their capital $165.5 million investment), Jo-Ann Stores Distribution Center, Maxforma (currently Hanwha Advanced Materials America, which has provided a total capital investment of $122.3 million and has since created 518 jobs in Opelika), and Mando Corporation , one of the leading automotive parts manufacturers in the world, specialising in internationally competitive state-of-the-art chassis components and systems, with a total capital investment of $192.6 million and 522 jobs to the community in 2005. From 2010 – 2020 Opelika saw $1.15 Billion in Capital Investments and 2,380 jobs created. Bonnie Plants, founded in 1918 by Bonnie and Livingston Paulk broke ground in Opelika in 2020, creaking new jobs and relocating their company headquarters previously located in Union Springs. In addition to bringing 60 jobs to Opelika, Bonnie Plants initial capital investment is $7.9 million.
Opelika is also home to Tiger Town, Capp’s Landing, Tiger Square, USA Town Center, Saugahatchee Square and Pepperell Village, offering retail and other amenities including AMC Cinema’s Tiger 13. On April 19, 2012, a 67-acre site in the Northeast Opelika Industrial Park became a Certified Food Site through Primus Builders, Inc./Garner Economics, LLC. The food site designation experts presented the Opelika Industrial Development Authority with the certification, stating the site is an ideal location for food and beverage processing, cold storage, or food distribution facilities. The certification aimed to attract new food-based companies to the Northeast Opelika Industrial Park and ultimately create additional jobs for the City of Opelika.
On September 16, 2021 Hanwha Cimarron broke ground on a manufacturing facility in the Northeast Opelika Industrial park with a capital investment of $130 million and creation of 261 new jobs. The new facility is being designed to expand the company's growth in the Carbon Overwrap Pressure Vessel industry, catering to the needs of aerospace, drone, defense, marine, rail, on-vehicle, gas transport and ground storage solutions.
Opelika has a population of over 31,472 people. Opelika also forms the centre of the wider Auburn-Opelika metropolitan area which has a population of over 158,991 people.