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Chopstick Factory

Photographer: Erik S. Lesser


The Georgia Chopsticks factory in the small southwest Georgia town of Americus, owned by Jae Lee, a US citizen and South Korean immigrant, opened in May 2011. Lee says his factory is the only chopstick factory in North and South America. The close proximity of fast growing soft hardwood trees such as poplar and sweet gum was one of the reasons the facility was located in South Georgia. Also, Lee was given a favorable lease at the site of a former automobile parts plant. Lee has financed the 3 million USD project with family loans and outside investors. The Georgia Chopsticks factory is exporting 99.7 per cent of the chopsticks to Asia, where they are sorted and repackaged to the particular country and/or company needs. Lee currently has 108 employees and can produce more than four million sets of chopsticks a day, which are produced without bleach or other chemicals. He plans on expanding both production and product line to include other wooden utensils.