Archive for August, 2020

8-28-2020 – Lenoir gains new furniture plant

Posted on: August 28th, 2020 by admin


August 28, 2020


By Guy Lucas

Aug 27, 2020 3:24 PM


A Taylorsville-based furniture company announced that it is greatly expanding its manufacturing capacity by opening a new plant in the former Broyhill Furniture upholstery complex on Complex Street, creating 50 jobs this year and potentially another 50 next year.


Craftmaster Furniture said it plans to open the plant Sept. 8 in a portion of the 400,000-square-foot complex where Broyhill, Henredon, Thomasville and Drexel upholstery products once were made. This campus includes warehouses used by Baker Furniture, Legacy Classic Furniture and Grand Manor, which are sister companies to Craftmaster. It was purchased by Craftmaster’s parent company, Samson Holdings, in 2018 for $4.75 million after the bankruptcy of Heritage Home Group.


Craftmaster said in a press release that the new plant will expand the company’s manufacturing capacity by 20 percent, which President and CEO Roy Calcagne said is needed to meet rising demand.


“I am very excited to be able to announce this news of our expansion. We have been fortunate to have had significant sales growth over the past few years and have the need to expand our current manufacturing capacity,” he said.


Deborah Murray, the executive director of the Caldwell County Economic Development Commission, said she is excited to welcome a new manufacturer to Caldwell County.


“The COVID economy has given us more people unemployed than we have seen in many years, so what great timing it is for a new, established manufacturer to open its doors and begin hiring,” she said. “Our workforce knows a lot about making things – especially furniture.”


This new facility will position Craftmaster for significant growth over the next decade because the new manufacturing will use only about 100,000 square feet of space, allowing room to add lines as needed, the company said.


Craftmaster currently has a total of 650,000 square feet of manufacturing space in Alexander and Wilkes counties.


Calcagne hailed Lenoir for its “long and storied history of producing fine furniture for more than 125 years.


“It is a wonderful community with a highly skilled workforce of furniture craftsmen,” he said. “Unfortunately, there have been many layoffs over the recent years with the demise of the Heritage Home Group and others. We are very happy to be able to offer over 50 new jobs this year and will have over 100 positions by the end of 2021. These jobs will offer very competitive wages and benefits along with great working conditions.”


Craftmaster Furniture was founded in 1972 in Taylorsville and specializes in moderately priced upholstery. It currently employs a total of 650 people.

8-19-2020 – New company may come to Lenoir

Posted on: August 19th, 2020 by admin


August 19, 2020


By Kara Fohner

Aug 18, 2020 4:53 PM


A company intends to establish a manufacturing facility in Lenoir and may create more than 200 new jobs over three years.


The Caldwell County Board of Commissioners approved a maximum of $200,000 in job-creation incentives for the company, which was not publicly identified, Monday evening. The incentives are for $2,000 per job for the first 100 jobs created.


Deborah Murray, the executive director of the Caldwell County Economic Development Commission, said that the company has never had a manufacturing presence in Caldwell County.


The EDC has been talking to company officials since February, and initially the company intended just to open a warehouse, bringing just 10 jobs to the county.


Since then, the project has grown, and now the company intends to create “up to or more than” 225 jobs over three years, Murray said.


“You would think that during these times that business might slow and that new companies coming or expanding in Caldwell just might slow, and that is not the case. We have been busier than usual, and … companies are still making plans to add and to grow,” she said.


The jobs will pay just over the average wage in Caldwell County, more than $40,000 annually.


The company is also applying for a state building reuse grant.

8-12-2020 – Early on, people forget masks, distancing

Posted on: August 12th, 2020 by admin


August 12, 2020






Human nature may be one of the biggest obstacles to schools operating under coronavirus-related health proto-cols, the superintendent of the Caldwell County Schools said.


All teachers reported to work on Monday, and students at the Caldwell Applied Sciences Academy and Caldwell Early College High School came back either Monday or Tuesday, and everyone needs reminders of the health rules, Superintendent Dr. Don Phipps told members of the Caldwell County Economic Development Commission’s board of directors on Tuesday.


“It’s tough to get students and adults to break out of old habits,” he said.


People tend to cluster with their friends, and they often forget to wear masks, he said.


The EDC board heard updates Tuesday from Phipps and Dr. Mark Poarch, the president of Caldwell Community College and Technical Institute, about ongoing work for the fall semester in the public schools and at the college.


Poarch agreed that enforcing health protocols will be critical.


“If we can just get people to follow the protocols,” classes should be manageable, he said.


Phipps said that arrangements for before- and after-school child care remain “the biggest piece that I wish I could solve.”


Many parents have relied on schools to provide those care pro-grams so they could remain at work, but strict state guidelines on social distancing at care facilities have sharply reduced the number of children the schools can keep, he said. The school system is trying to find alternatives in the community, such as at churches, but it has been difficult.


Exactly how school bus routes are going to operate also remains in the works, he said. Social distancing guidelines can mean that a bus that normally could carry 72 children now may carry 24 — or even fewer. That combined with the alternating days that children will have in-per-son and online-only instruction mean there will be many adjustments, he said.


“I don’t know that we’ll have two identical bus route days all year long,” he said.


Phipps and Poarch said that when there inevitably is a case of students testing positive for COVID-19, how the school system or the college responds will depend on guidance from state and local health officials.


To address the number of low-in-come families without inter net access or computers at home, the school system used federal coronavirus-relief funding to buy 100 Wi-Fi hotspots and about 1,200 Chromebook laptops, and donations are being accepted to buy more hotspots.


One such donation came Monday night at the Caldwell County Board of Education meeting, to the tune of $10,000 from Living Hope Church. The church typically holds an event every year to give away backpacks, but Pastor Keith Gilliam said that church members thought that funding Wi-Fi hotspots would have a bigger impact this year.


In other business, EDC Executive Director Deborah Murray asked everyone to help spread the word about the N.C. Department of Commerce’s Job Retention Grant Pro-gram. It’s a $15 million pool for providing grants, not loans, of up to $250,000 for small businesses or non-profits that have been hurt by the coronavirus-related economic crisis.


A key eligibility requirement is that the organization by the end of June had retained 90% of the number of full-time employees it had in February.


Murray also announced the new “24/7 virtual job fair” on the EDC’s website, Clicking on the blue “Caldwell is Hiring” but-ton on the right side of the site will take the user to a listing of all of the jobs in the region that the EDC has been notified about, and each listing links to that employer’s online job application site.


The site operates similar to popular job sites such as, but users do not have to register or fill out profiles, she said.

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