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EAST BRIDGEWATER

‘47 opens distribution plant in East Bridgewater

The national sports apparel company ‘47 recently opened a new facility in East Bridgewater.

The firm, which provides gear for four American sports leagues and 600 colleges and universities, bought the former Shaw’s supermarket warehouse on Spring Street in April to provide expanded space for its distribution operations, according to Joseph Keane, chief operating officer.

The company had maintained a single distribution center in Brockton, until now. Some of that work is being shifted to the East Bridgewater site, which the firm is upgrading.

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Keane said ‘47 is now occupying about 40 percent of the Spring Street building, with other businesses leasing another 40 percent.

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The firm, which also had a headquarters building in Westwood and a screen print facility in Salisbury, received a tax break from East Bridgewater to support its development in the town. The 15-year agreement will save ‘47 about $500,000 from exemptions on a portion of the added taxes the site will generate from the firm’s estimated $18.6 million investment.

The state is also providing a $150,000 investment tax credit.

The company has pledged to hire 30 people in East Bridgewater in the next five years to work at the facility.

Noting that the 70-year-old company had considered relocating to other sites around the country to accommodate its expected growth, Keane said the new facility will enable ‘47 to remain in Massachusetts.

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“We are a Massachusetts born and bred company and really wanted to stay here,” he said. “We’re really happy it worked out for us. I think it’s a real win for the town as well.”

John Laidler can be reached at john.laidler@globe.com.