Archive for April, 2017

4/20/2017 – AMP Services receives N.C. Commerce grant to renovate historic Granite Falls building

Posted on: April 20th, 2017 by admin


April 20, 2017


An LED lighting company has been awarded a N.C. Department of Commerce Building Reuse grant in order to make improvements to a historic downtown Granite Falls site.


AMP Services, LLC received approval for $400,000 from the Commerce Department’s Rural Economic Development Division for an estimated $816,000 renovation that will help the company expand and create 40 new full-time jobs. The grant was processed by the Caldwell County Economic Development Commission, along with the Town of Granite Falls.


The renovation project is part of a more than $5-million expansion investment by the company.


Located at 30 North Main Street, the 36,878-square-foot building was constructed in 1915 and originally housed Falls Manufacturing Company. AMP Services officials have said they plan to restore the building based on the facility’s original construction. The company also purchased adjacent 64,585-square-foot building at 1 South Main Street.


In fact, AMP Services already has made improvements to the former depot building that is located between the two main facilities and is not part of the grant.


In operation for more than seven years in downtown Granite Falls, AMP Services has focused on commercial and industrial signs and refrigerant services. More recently, the company has concentrated on LED lighting, including research and development of more efficient LED lighting components and the manufacturing of LED replacement housings for conventional commercial and industrial fluorescent lighting.


“These grant funds will help us get to market quicker and position our company faster to expand in this new direction,” AMP Services CEO Austin Powell said during the application process. “We appreciate the Town of Granite Falls and Caldwell County for their assistance in helping us achieve our goals.”


The planned renovations include window and door replacements, improvements to the roof, gutters, and skylights, and a new loading dock. The project is expected to be completed by the end of the year.


“We are delighted that AMP Services has been awarded this grant,” Caldwell EDC Executive Director Deborah Murray said. “And we are so very pleased to know that the company plans to restore the building to reflect the robust history of Granite Falls’ Main Street.


“AMP Services is an innovative company, and it will be very exciting to see the progress as its expansion plans are realized.”


On March 6, the Granite Falls Town Council passed a resolution of support for the project and to serve as the local government applicant. The Caldwell County Board of Commissioners approved a local jobs incentive for up to $2,000 per job that is payable after the jobs are created, documented, and maintained for one year for up to 35 jobs created during the next two years.


4/20/2017 – Ryan-Al Door awarded N.C. Commerce Building Reuse grant to reshore jobs from China

Posted on: April 20th, 2017 by admin


April 20, 2017


Fiberglass door manufacturer Ryan-Al Door Systems, Inc. has received a N.C. Department of Commerce Building Reuse grant for renovations to a Lenoir facility that will bring back manufacturing jobs from China to Caldwell County.


The $44,525 grant comes on the heels of a $150,000 One North Carolina Fund grant announced last week by Gov. Roy Cooper. Both grants were facilitated by the Caldwell County Economic Development Commission.


For the Building Reuse grant, Ryan-Al Door pledged to invest $1.7 million and hire 29 new full-time employees in a two-year period of time, with an average annual wage of more than $39,500, well above Caldwell County’s current average of $34,744 per year. The company’s three-year target will have full-time employment well above 50.


The company, headquartered in Diamond Bar, Calif., plans to bring back its manufacturing operations from Zhejiang, China, and also is looking to move its distribution operations from Myrtle Beach, S.C., to Lenoir.


“We are extremely excited to be moving our manufacturing facility to Lenoir and Caldwell County,” Ryan-Al Door President and CEO Rick Trainor said. “Having a pool of qualified labor and the financial support provided to us by the North Carolina Department of Commerce and Caldwell County will surely enable us to ‘hit the ground’ running. This support is going to allow us the ability to start our manufacturing at some point in July.


“Everything that we planned is ahead of schedule, and we’re now at a point where we are waiting for our machinery to arrive. Being located in Caldwell County leads us to believe that this strategic location will open many more opportunities from a distribution standpoint.”


Ryan-Al Door manufactures and distributes a wide variety of fiberglass doors and aluminum-framed windows. The company will be renovating a 30,649-square-foot portion of the former Crown Heritage furniture manufacturing building located off Clover Drive near U.S. 321 South.


“This Commerce Department grant is fantastic news and dovetails nicely with the governor’s announcement,” Caldwell County EDC Executive Director Deborah Murray said. “We were so grateful to have Commerce Development representatives visiting the site recently to see first-hand the impact this grant will have for Ryan-Al Door and for Caldwell County workers.


“We are also very excited to have Ryan-Al Door joining our growing list of diverse manufacturers in our county. The company’s commitment to reshoring jobs from China is to be commended and it shows once again that Caldwell County is being competitive in the global marketplace.”


Ryan-Al Door plans to begin making renovations as soon as possible, and the company is looking at attending the Caldwell is Hiring event that is scheduled for Thursday, May 18 at the J.E. Broyhill Civic Center in Lenoir from 8:30 a.m. until noon.


The Caldwell County Board of Commissioners previously endorsed the project and approved a local jobs incentive of $2,000 per job for up to 50 full-time jobs created in its first three years, documented, and maintained for one year. These funds provide the required local government match for the Building Reuse grant and the One NC Fund grant.


4/14/2017 – Fiberglass door manufacturer Ryan-Al Door moving operations from China to Lenoir

Posted on: April 14th, 2017 by admin


April 14, 2017


A specialty manufacturer of fiberglass doors will move operations to Lenoir from China and invest $1.7 million to open a manufacturing facility that is expected to create 53 jobs, Gob. Roy Cooper announced.


Ryan-Al Door Systems will move production to a building off Clover Drive and U.S. 321 in Lenoir from a plant in Zhejiang, China.


“North Carolina competes for business with locations around the world,” Cooper said in a press release. “Ryan-Al’s choice to move operations from China to North Carolina demonstrates the many advantages our state offers manufacturers of every size.”


Caldwell County Economic Development Commission Executive Director Deborah Murray called the “reshoring” of manufacturing jobs from China to the U.S. “a pretty major accomplishment.” The availability of local workers skilled in woodworking, plastics, and machining makes Ryan-Al a perfect fit for Caldwell County, she said.


Ryan-Al also will be bringing distribution operations that currently are based in Myrtle Beach, South Carolina, “which shows how competitive we are,” Murray said.


Rick Trainor, the president and CEO of Ryan-Al Door, also praised the local workforce.


“Although originating our factory in China served a very useful purpose, by allowing us to establish a foothold and our brand in the market, we are to the point where we need American ingenuity and know-how to move ourselves in various other directions within the fiberglass door market,” Trainor said. “Landing in Lenoir, North Carolina, will be a natural fit with the area’s available skilled labor force.


“Transitioning from the furniture-building sector to constructing fiberglass doors should prove to be a very easy switch, and we are anticipating almost immediate results in the door-making process.”


Ryan-Al Door, which has headquarters in Diamond Bar, California, makes and distributes a wide variety of fiberglass doors and aluminum-framed windows. The company will hire administrators, managers, production, and operational personnel with an average salary for the new jobs pegged at $39,887, well above Caldwell County’s current annual average of $34,744.


No firm date has been set for hiring or beginning production, but company officials have said they plan to begin bringing equipment to Lenoir “immediately,” and within two months the work to get the facility ready should be obvious, Murray said.


Murray added that Ryan-Al Door hiring representatives may be at Caldwell is Hiring, scheduled for 8:30 a.m. until Noon on Thursday, May 18 at the J.E. Broyhill Civic Center in Lenoir.


The Caldwell County Board of Commissioners voted in February to offer Ryan-Al Door incentives worth $2,000 for each new job created, documented, and maintained. That money served as the local matching funds to apply for a state grant of $150,000 from the One North Carolina Fund to help pay for getting the Lenoir building ready, which Murray said was vital for luring Ryan-Al Door to Caldwell County.


Before approving the grant, a team from the N.C. Department of Commerce came to Lenoir on April 7 to look over the building Ryan-Al Door was considering and learn more about work that will be needed to adapt it for the company’s operations.


The building once had been used for furniture manufacturing but in recent years has mainly been used for storage, owner Bob Greene told the Commerce team.


By Guy Lucas, (Lenoir) News-Topic


4/10/2017 – Job seekers can pre-register for Caldwell is Hiring through NCWorks

Posted on: April 10th, 2017 by admin


April 10, 2017


Individuals looking to attend the 14th Caldwell is Hiring that is scheduled for Thursday, May 18 from 8:30 a.m. until Noon at the J.E. Broyhill Civic Center can now pre-register for the event through NCWorks.


Pre-registration allows prospective employees to bypass the orientation process the day of the event.


For more information about the pre-registration process, contact NCWorks at (828) 759-4680. NCWorks is located in the back of the Caldwell Chamber/EDC building on the lower level and next to the Broyhill Civic Center.


4/10/2017 – Caldwell is Hiring adapts to changing jobs climate

Posted on: April 10th, 2017 by admin


April 10, 2017


Less than seven years after the first Caldwell is Hiring, the needs that organizers are trying to meet have changed a great deal.


In late 2010, with unemployment barely down from a peak of 17 percent, they just wanted to provide some hope to thousands of people who were unemployed and despaired of being able to find another job, Caldwell County Economic Development Commission Executive Director Deborah Murray said.


“We begged employers to come,” Murray said, and got about 15, who then were faced with an overflow crowd of people who parked up and down U.S. 321 near the J.E. Broyhill Civic Center.


But in recent years, those attending are not just looking for a job – any job.


“You have people looking for the better job now,” Murray said, and more employers are looking for workers than will fit in the civic center.


The next Caldwell is Hiring is Thursday, May 18, from 8:30 a.m. to noon at the civic center. Murray expects that she once again will have to turn some employers away. There is room for 50.


The most recent state report said that Caldwell County’s unemployment rate was 4.9 percent, the lowest since 2001, and the number of people with jobs has been gradually rising for the past several years. A state report late last year said that the median household income had risen 11 percent in one year, the best total in the state.


“We have hit a lot of marks a lot sooner than I would have thought,” Murray said. “We have well surpassed bouncing back and are well on the way to growing and competing again.”


Given the economic momentum, some might wonder why the EDC keeps organizing the hiring event.


“We said we would do it as long as it met a need,” Murray said, and though the needs have changed, there is still a need.


For employers, the need is to find qualified workers in an economy that calls for more skills and makes those workers harder to find. For workers, the need often is to find a better-paying job than they already have.


Murray said she expects the 50 employers who will fit into this Caldwell is Hiring will have more than 2,000 jobs available.


As employers sign up, the EDC is posting available jobs on its website – – and on the Facebook page for Caldwell is Hiring.


By Guy Lucas, (Lenoir) News-Topic



4/7/2017 – Dunkin’ Donuts coming to Lenoir in 2018

Posted on: April 7th, 2017 by admin


April 7, 2017


Another nationally known food chain has announced plans to come to Lenoir, though a site and opening date both are yet to be determined.


HARA Foodservice Group LLC will open stores in Lenoir, Morganton, Hickory, and Marion, with the first store planned for sometime in 2018, according to a press release from Dunkin’ Donuts. The stores will be HARA’s first Dunkin’ Donuts operations.


No site for a store in Lenoir has been chosen, said Courtney Whelen of Fish Consulting, a spokeswoman for Dunkin’ Donuts.


“This group is continuing to scout out areas for development,” she said.


HARA’s prospective stores were among 12 that Dunkin’ Donuts announced. The other eight will be managed by Carolina Donuts LLC in the Winston-Salem area, with the first also planned to open in 2018. Carolina Donuts previously acquire five existing Dunkin’ Donuts stores in the Winston-Salem area and operates 12 others in Tennessee and Florida.


Grant Benson, senior vice president of franchising and development, said in the press release that franchisees also are being recruited in the Raleigh, Jacksonville, High Point, and Burlington areas.


North Carolina currently has more than 300 Dunkin’ Donuts locations. The expansion in North Carolina is part of an overall goal of having 17,000 Dunkin’ Donuts in the U.S., the press release said.


By Briana Adhikusuma, (Lenoir) News-Topic

4/7/2017 – European manufacturer acquires segment of fiber optics operation at NEPTCO in Granite Falls

Posted on: April 7th, 2017 by admin


April 7, 2017


Roblon US Inc. has acquired a segment of fiber optics manufacturing from NEPTCO, a division of Chase Corporation.


The acquisition was announced to both NEPTCO and Roblon customers and employees along with the attached letter.


Chase/NEPTCO – headquartered in Westwood, Mass. – has two manufacturing facilities in Caldwell County, employing approximately 200 between the two plants in Lenoir and Granite Falls. This transaction is limited to certain products at the Chase/NEPTCO Granite Falls facility.


There will be no layoffs and no net job loss to accommodate this transaction as Chase/NEPTCO is now contracted to continue to manufacture the fiber optic cable components for Roblon and its customers.


“The Caldwell Economic Development Commission is excited to see the expansion of manufacturing to now include a new European partner, headquartered in Freerikshavn, Denmark,” Caldwell EDC Executive Director Deborah Murray said.


Granite Falls Mayor Barry Hayes added, “This represents a new business opportunity for Roblon and Chase/NEPTCO as well as potential for future job creation and new investment in Granite Falls and Caldwell County, North Carolina. We wish them both much success.”


4/4/2017 – Commissioners approve incentives for Caldwell EDC projects

Posted on: April 4th, 2017 by admin


April 4, 2017


Economic development officials hope Caldwell County can land a start-up company that makes an antimicrobial fungicide for lumber.


A package of incentives for the potential company was among incentives for a total of four businesses approved by the Caldwell County Board of Commissioners.


According to Caldwell County Economic Development Commission Executive Director Deborah Murray, Caldwell County is competing with sites in Nevada and Texas for the fungicide company that is being referred to as Project Zero. The company made an offer in March to buy a tract of county-owned property along Beecher Anderson Road for $50,000.


The company expects to create up to 30 full-time jobs over three years, with wages beginning around $12.50 an hour for lumber handlers and $18 an hour for operation, marketing, and managers, according to county documents. The commissioners approved local job incentives of $2,000 for each new created, documented, and maintained for one year. In addition, the board approved a five-year tax grant that for 75 percent of the taxes on any new value created by its potential investment. The commissioners also approved supporting the company’s application for a state grant.


The company’s environmentally friendly, antimicrobial fungicide for lumber is used in residential, commercial, and industrial construction.


The largest incentives package the commissioners approved was for JBS USA, a subsidiary of Swift Beef that is expanding operations at is meat-processing plant in Lenoir that it took over from Vantage Foods in October 2014. The company originally had been approved in February for incentives of $2,000 per job for up to 100 new jobs, but due to new corporate goals, the company requested the incentive be changed to 200 jobs that are expected to be created during the next year.


Another company, identified as Project Dier, is an existing Caldwell County business that had specialized in fabrication for industrial applications before the Great Recession. According to Murray, after changing its core business, the company has been able to take advantage of an industry comeback in order to move into a larger facility and double its business in the past year. The company plans to create up to 20 new jobs.


Meanwhile, Project Mac, a transportation company, has operated in a nearby county and is looking to expand to Caldwell County with a possible land purchase. The company would create 10 new jobs, along with the 10 existing jobs that would be part of any move.


By Briana Adhikusuma, (Lenoir) News-Topic


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