Archive for the ‘News section’ Category

8-11-2022 – EDC presented proposal to purchase 30-acres

Posted on: August 11th, 2022 by admin No Comments


August 11 2022





Deborah Murray, executive director of the Economic Development Commission (EDC), presented a proposal to purchase the 30-acre Hollowfield McDowell property on Helton Road in Sawmills for the purpose of industrial development.


“The development there would be a tremendous investment in Sawmills,” Murray said.


The property has the potential to add value, jobs, and investment in the community. The EDC has also partnered with an engineering consultant to maximize the value of the property.


“We’ve decided that naming it Evergreene Industrial Park gives a nod to the recently deceased mayor of Sawmills,” Murray said. “It gives it something that is important to us, being green and sustainable and standing for 21st century types of things, but also a nod to the history and legacy of something important to the town of Sawmills.”


Potter asked Murray if there were any concerns about the property becoming a Brownfield site, which is a site that may be complicated by the presence or potential presence of a hazardous substance, pollutant, or contaminate. Murray answered that she was not aware of anything of that nature planned for this property.


After Murray’s presentation, commissioners voted unanimously to approve this land acquisition.

8-4-2022 – County’s unemployment rate ticks upward

Posted on: August 4th, 2022 by admin No Comments


August 4, 2022




Aug 3, 2022


RALEIGH — At 4.1%, Caldwell County’s unemployment rate increased in June from May’s rate of 3.6%.


Unemployment rates (not seasonally adjusted) increased in 98 of North Carolina’s counties in June and decreased in two. Edgecombe County had the highest unemployment rate at 8.0% while Orange and Buncombe Counties each had the lowest at 3.3%. All 15 of the state’s metro areas experienced rate increases. Among the metro areas, Rocky Mount had the highest rate at 6.5% while Asheville and Durham-Chapel Hill each had the lowest at 3.4%. The June not seasonally adjusted statewide rate was 4.1%, the same as Caldwell.


In Caldwell, 1,477 out of a workforce of 36,274 are listed as unemployed. The county ranks in the middle of the state’s 100 counties, or 49th, with its current joblessness rate.


When compared to the same month last year, not seasonally adjusted unemployment rates decreased in all 100 counties. All 15 of the state’s metro areas experienced rate decreases over the year.


Last year, Caldwell County recorded an unemployment rate of 5.8% for the month of June. Of course, the state was still climbing out of the depths of the COVID-19 pandemic that resulted in economic peril.


The number of workers employed statewide (not seasonally adjusted) decreased in June by 13,268 to 4,935,844, while those unemployed increased by 22,766 to 209,855. Since June 2021, the number of workers employed statewide increased 220,290, while those unemployed decreased 63,454.


It is important to note that employment estimates are subject to large seasonal patterns; therefore, it is advisable to focus on over-the-year changes in the not seasonally adjusted estimates.


The next unemployment update is scheduled for Friday, Aug. 19 when the state unemployment rate for July 2022 will be released.

7-15-2022 – WPCOG launches new app

Posted on: July 15th, 2022 by admin No Comments


July 15, 2022




Jul 14, 2022


LENOIR — After two years of development, hundreds of drone flights, and extensive work with community partners, the Western Piedmont Council of Governments (WPCOG) announced the launch of the N.C. Foothills Experience Web App. It’s a comprehensive program highlighting the rich collection of adventures, experiences, amenities, and food destinations across the four-county region, which consists of Alexander, Burke, Caldwell, and Catawba counties.


“The more amenities a place has, the more attractive it becomes to employers and employees,” said Duncan Cavanaugh, WPCOG transportation planner and data technician. “This tool will promote economic development. It goes hand-in-hand with living the kind of lifestyle that’s not just about work, but other things to do as well, because those are equally important.”


The project, which was made possible through funding from the EDA CARES Act, is a first-of-its-kind application designed to demonstrate to prospective residents and businesses — as well as current residents — that by relocating to or staying in this region, they can experience a high quality of life that offers an ideal work-life balance.


“We are excited to launch the N.C. Foothills Experience,” said Anthony Starr, WPCOG executive director. “Our region possesses so many great assets and things to do. This tool helps our residents and visitors easily access information, and it demonstrates how this area is the best of North Carolina.”


On Wednesday, July 13, the WPCOG hosted a launch event at its offices in Hickory. The launch event revealed the new N.C. Foothills Experience logo and a short demonstration of the app’s many capabilities.


With nearly 100 immersive drone videos, hundreds of photos, and several user-friendly maps, this one-of-a-kind web app celebrates the region’s quality of life by highlighting the many destinations and activities that make this area so special.


“Job seekers and current residents really want to live where there’s lots of fun and culture,” Cavanaugh said. “Businesses looking for new places to locate know a region with a high quality of life is key for recruiting and retaining employees.”


The web app, which can be found at, focuses on four key categories that contribute significantly to the region’s high quality of life. In Caldwell County, that includes:


  • Outdoor Adventures, featuring nearly 40 locations including local, state, and national parks, hiking/biking trails, boat access areas, greenways, and bicycle routes.
  • Fun Places, featuring about 25 locations including cultural amenities such as museums, libraries, festivals such as the Sawmills Fall Festival and the Blackberry Festival, and downtown.
  • Farm Fresh, featuring three local food sources such as farmers markets, U-Pick farms, roadside stands, and butchers.
  • Cool Spaces, featuring 10 locations including local breweries, wineries like the Twisted Vine Winery, distilleries, coffee shops, bike shops, skateboard shops, and outdoor outfitters.


Each location and event included within these four categories are represented by icons on maps, which users can click on to see immersive high-definition drone videos, photos, and engaging descriptions. Users can then click on another category to build their own personalized experiences. For example, after selecting a historic destination to visit, a user can click on the other categories to create a multi-destination experience, including a bite to eat at a local brew pub, a bike ride on a greenway, and a visit to downtown.


“We took the drone out to where people want to be,” Cavanaugh said. “We tried to make those drone videos and produce them in a way that makes people feel like they’re there. The drone is not flying super high, it’s flying at head level, so people can experience what it would be like to take a walk or hike along the greenway, for instance. The videos are high quality, high resolution videos.”


Visitors and prospective new neighbors will find a treasure trove of experiences to explore, while even long-term residents are likely to discover something new to try.


WPCOG expressed an appreciation to the many project partners and stakeholders who worked together to make this vision a reality. Project partners included 28 local government members, the U.S. Economic Development Administration, local tourism promotion and visitors bureaus, Main Street and downtown development programs, chambers of commerce and EDCs, local extension offices, and the hundreds of people across the region that assisted by providing photos of their locations and events.


To check out the app, visit


“Even now, gas prices are going up and local residents might be looking for places to go and fun things to do that they’ve never even heard about,” said Cavanaugh. “With this app, they can save their money and not have to drive so far.”

7-13-2022 -MDI announces 250,000-square-foot, $35 million expansion

Posted on: July 13th, 2022 by admin No Comments


July 13, 2022



Virginia Annable


Merchants Distributors LLC, a grocery wholesale distributor, is investing $35 million to expand its Caldwell County location. The expansion is expected to create 125 new jobs.


The company plans a 250,000- square-foot expansion to its perishable goods capacity, a release from North Carolina Gov. Roy Cooper said. The state and Caldwell County offered incentives for the expansion. City of Hickory are considering incentives.


The expansion will convert space in the Caldwell County facility that can be chilled to 34 degrees for perishable goods, the release said. The expansion will create jobs with an average salary of about $59,000.

“As our business continues to grow, demand for perishable products has increased the need for chilled warehouse space to service our customers and communities,” Brian George, chairman and CEO of MDI, said in the release. “North Carolina continues to support business growth and invest in workforce development which makes expanding at this location possible.”


The state of North Carolina offered MDI a Job Development Investment Grant of $1.08 million over 12 years. The grant is based on an estimate that the expansion will grow the state’s economy by $323.4 million, according to the release.


Caldwell County offered MDI a tax grant of 75% of taxes paid on new assessed value from the project over 10 years, Caldwell County Economic Development Commission Executive Director Deborah Murray said. The county also offered to pay MDI $2,000 for retaining 50 jobs that would have been lost had the expansion been done at a different distribution center, and $2,000 per each of the 125 jobs created.


MDI is Caldwell County’s largest employer, Murray said in a release. “Their success is so important to our region,” she said.


The city of Hickory was involved in bringing the expansion to the area, a release from Caldwell County said. The Hickory City Council will consider an incentive package soon, Hickory Communications Specialist Sarah Killian said.


“This significant investment and expansion benefits the region by preserving and creating high-quality jobs that provide security and stability for families in the Hickory metro,” Hickory Mayor Hank Guess said in the MDI release.


The expansion is expected to be complete in late 2023, said Kimberly George, the president of communications and corporate citizenship for the company.


The distribution operation, located in Caldwell County off U.S. 321, is still undergoing a $120 million expansion to its dry goods distribution area, Murray said. The expansion was announced in 2020. Once complete in early 2023, it is expected to create 111 new jobs, separate from the latest expansion.


The 2020 investment also received a JDIG grant from the state and incentives from Caldwell County and Hickory.

7-11-2022 – CCC&TI Small Business Center offers free workshops

Posted on: July 11th, 2022 by admin No Comments


July 11, 2022




Jul 8, 2022


LENOIR – CCC&TI’s SBC (SBC) offers free workshops, one-on-one assistance and many more services to help local small businesses. To reserve a seat at one of the free workshops, call 828-726-3065 or visit to register.


Upcoming free online and in-person workshops:


Creating Your First Employee Handbook – CCC&TI’s SBC will offer a free online workshop titled “Creating Your First Employee Handbook” from 12 p.m. to 1 p.m. on Wednesday, Aug. 3. Regardless of whether a business has two employees or 20, there are workplace policies, procedures and expectations that are essential for employees to know and understand for a more effective organization. This session will teach participants the basics of creating an employee handbook, including understanding the “why,” provide a list of items that should be included and outline common mistakes to avoid.


Stabilizing Business Cash Flow Through Unstable Times – CCC&TI’s SBC will offer a free online workshop titled “Stabilizing Business Cash Flow Through Unstable Times” from 12 p.m. to 1 p.m. on Wednesday, Sept. 7. Developing a financial strategy is important to survive a short-term cash crunch without putting long-term profitability at a disadvantage. Participants will learn to think creatively and positively to keep cash flowing, find ways to preserve and evaluate inventory.


Strategic Planning: Getting Started – CCC&TI’s SBC will offer a free in-person workshop at the HUB Station titled “Strategic Planning: Getting Started” from 8 a.m. to 10 a.m. on Wednesday, Sept. 21. Statistics confirm that implementing a strategic plan nearly doubles a business’s chance of success. This session is designed to simplify the planning process and provide participants with actionable steps at all stages of strategic plan development. Experts will highlight key components of a successful plan and share a variety of strategies to effectively capture the voices of the board, staff and community in the final product. This workshop also offers a roadmap for non-profits who want an overview of strategic planning from start to finish as well as some practical tools to use along the way. The HUB Station Business Center is located at 143 Cedar Valley Road in Hudson.


Strategic Plan in Action: How to Keep it Current and Relevant –  CCC&TI’s SBC will offer a free in-person workshop at the HUB Station titled “Strategic Plan in Action: How to Keep it Current and Relevant” from 10:15 a.m. to 12:15 p.m. on Wednesday, Sept. 21. A strategic plan is only successful if an organization knows how to keep it current and relevant. This session is designed to help nonprofit leaders plan beyond the document creation process. Participants will learn to identify and overcome common barriers that stall strategic actions, implement practical strategies to keep the team engaged, and position the organization for on-going success. Experts will deliver action-focused tips and tools to ensure planning and resources do not go to waste. This workshop is ideal for organizations needing to take an existing plan off the shelf and organizations ready to implement a new strategic plan. The HUB Station Business Center is located at 143 Cedar Valley Road in Hudson.


Grant Writing 101: What the Pros Know – CCC&TI’s SBC will offer a free online workshop titled “Grant Writing 101: What the Pros Know” from 9 a.m. to 10:30 a.m. on Tuesday, Sept. 27. This webinar provides a comprehensive introduction to grant writing, outlines what should be included in each grant component, and how to steer clear of the most common pitfalls. This is a fast-paced online event that will help participants with the building blocks of a strong grant proposal. As funding becomes more difficult to secure, nonprofit organizations face significant challenges to fulfill their missions. This webinar reviews the questions nonprofits need to answer prior to searching and applying for grant funds, outlines the seven basic elements of most proposals, and shows participants how to match their needs to funder priorities. Participants focus on the major questions that need to be answered prior to writing a proposal and incorporating these answers into research, and ultimately a competitive proposal. Participants will leave this webinar with the tools required to determine the need for and content of strategy sessions, the elements of effective plans, implementation methods, and where to begin.


Show Me the Money: Effective Grant Research – CCC&TI’s SBC will offer a free online workshop titled “Show Me the Money: Effective Grant Research” from 11 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. on Tuesday, Sept. 27. This webinar will explore the details needed to conduct successful grant research and expedite the grant writing process. Participants will learn the details needed to begin prospect research, how to locate available grants, how to navigate organizational websites to locate funding opportunities, and identify pitfalls to avoid that will save time and expedite research and writing processes.

7-8-2022 – CCC&TI promotes ‘Better Skills. Better Jobs’ campaign

Posted on: July 8th, 2022 by admin No Comments


July 8, 2022




14 hrs ago


LENOIR – Caldwell Community College and Technical Institute is inviting adult learners to explore opportunities for better skills, better jobs, and a brighter future at Cobra Family Fest Thursday, July 14 from 5 p.m. to 8 p.m. on the Caldwell Campus at 2855 Hickory Blvd., Hudson. The event is free and open to the public.


Cobra Family Fest provides the opportunity for new, current and prospective students to tour the Caldwell Campus with their families and learn about the programs offered. In addition to CCC&TI program and resources information, the event will include music, food, prizes, games and kid-friendly activities.


“From nursing and biopharmaceutical technology to information technology and truck driving training, and many more, our programs offer a direct pipeline to many of this area’s top employers,” said Dr. Mark Poarch, president of Caldwell Community College and Technical Institute.


“After a couple of years with challenges like no other, we know many adults are re-examining their work situations and area employers are searching for skilled talent,” Poarch said. “That’s why we are making an extra push this summer and fall to connect adults to a variety of fast, flexible and affordable programs at CCC&TI that can directly lead to jobs in our region.”


The Better Skills Better Jobs campaign is part of a project first launched in 2021 with five North Carolina community colleges to proactively reach out to and attract more adults back to college. The effort expanded to five additional colleges in 2022, the second year of the initiative. Funded by the John M. Belk Endowment, other key partners in the initiative include myFutureNC, the North Carolina Community College System, the Belk Center for Community College Research and Leadership at North Carolina State University, and many others.


The campaign will include direct outreach and support to reconnect with adults in the area who previously earned some college credits but left without completing a degree or certification; special events and presentations on campus and in the community to showcase the college’s many programs and opportunities; and a robust digital marketing and advertising campaign designed to reach and connect with more adult learners.


“The John M. Belk Endowment is pleased to partner with Caldwell Community College and Technical Institute and these outstanding community college leaders to catalyze and supercharge their efforts to recruit and support adult students,” said MC Belk Pilon, president and board chair of the John M. Belk Endowment.


“We know that many North Carolinians are looking for new challenges or a fresh start, and we believe our community colleges are a great place for their journey to begin. Our goal is for all residents of our state to have access to an education that will lead to skills, credentials, and degrees, and ultimately the opportunities to achieve their dreams and to help meet the workforce needs across our state,” Pilon continued.


“At myFutureNC, we are dedicated to ensuring that 2 million North Carolinians between the ages of 25 and 44 have a high-quality credential or a postsecondary degree by the year 2030. The vast majority of higher-wage jobs today require more than a high school diploma, but that is something that less than half of North Carolinians in this age range currently have,” said Cecilia Holden, president and CEO of myFutureNC. “Better skills lead to better jobs and to a stronger and more economically vibrant North Carolina. We are very pleased to be partnering on this important initiative.”


The John M. Belk Endowment is a private family foundation committed to transforming postsecondary educational opportunities to meet North Carolina’s evolving workforce needs. Its mission is aligned with the vision of its founder, the late John M. Belk, who served four terms as mayor of Charlotte and was CEO of the department store company Belk, Inc. Now led by Mr. Belk’s daughter, MC Belk Pilon, the John M. Belk Endowment continues to partner with innovative, results-oriented programs in North Carolina to further Mr. Belk’s values, legacy, and focus on the value of education as a means to personal fulfillment and community vitality. For more information, visit

6-20-2022 – Rural Infrastructure Authority Grant Helps Bring New Industry to Hudson

Posted on: June 28th, 2022 by admin No Comments


June 28, 2022



Last week, the North Carolina Rural Infrastructure Authority (RIA) approved the Town of Hudson’s request for a $120,000 grant to assist Harmony Timberworks with the reuse and renovation of the 53,560-square-foot former Davis Wood Product building.


Harmony Timberworks came to Caldwell County looking for a rail-sided building to reduce the cost associated with the transportation of raw materials from the west coast. The 40-year-old company headquartered in Boone found the vacant Davis Wood Product building met their needs, and they are working closely with the Caldwell Economic Development Commission and the Town of Hudson to make the new site operational.


“This is a great thing for Caldwell County,” said Caldwell County Board of Commission Chairman Randy Church. “We appreciate the work of our Economic Development Commission to bring industry to Caldwell County.”


“It is great to welcome one more new company to Caldwell County that will add to our manufacturing diversity while still capitalizing on a legacy industry, timber,” said Caldwell EDC Executive Director Deborah Murray.


In addition to obtaining one of 16 RIA grants announced by Governor Roy Cooper, Harmony Timberworks received approval for local job incentives in March. The company, a manufacturer of complex timber frame projects, anticipates creating 15 new jobs.


Grants through RIA can support a variety of activities, including infrastructure development, building renovation, expansion and demolition, and site improvements. Funding comes from a variety of specialized grant and loan programs offered and managed by N.C. Commerce’s Rural Economic Development Division.


“With the help of these grants, we are able to attract new jobs to rural communities across the state,” Governor Cooper said. “These investments generate more economic opportunity, renovated buildings, enhanced access to healthcare and fortified water and sewer service, all of which improve the lives and livelihoods of rural residents.”

6-15-2022 – Commissioners approve county budget

Posted on: June 15th, 2022 by admin No Comments


June 15, 2022




June 14, 2022


LENOIR — During the Board of Commissioners meeting on Monday, June 13, County Manager Donald Duncan presented the county’s proposed budget for fiscal year 2022-23. This budget will begin Friday, July 1.


“The commissioners have created a stable revenue to maintain long-term reserves and most importantly, reduce the need for future commissioners to borrow money to pay interest,” Duncan said. “We enter 2022-2023 fiscal year optimistically.”


In regards to economic development, activity during the pandemic actually increased substantially as the global supply chain became disrupted and more companies looked to domestic sourcing. Manufacturing communities like those in Catawba Valley have flourished, as more people relocated to suburban and ex-urban areas. The need for home furnishings and materials grew exponentially. Business tourism floundered during the pandemic, and domestic and global travel was suspended, but now have rebounded to greater than pre-pandemic levels. Occupancy taxes in Caldwell County have more than doubled since 2017.


“These funds are reinvested in the Chamber [of Commerce] and the EDC to assist in the growing economy,” said Duncan.


The Economic Development Commission has successfully repurposed many empty buildings for new businesses since 2012, reclaiming over 6 million square feet of industrial space.


Moreover, there has been record growth in building and environmental permits.


“Despite the pandemic, development in Caldwell County has continued at a robust pace,” Duncan said. “All sectors have experienced expansion in industrial development.”


The county’s tax rate will remain at 63 cents per $100 valuation.


The revenues from the General Fund were estimated conservatively at $46 million, assuming a 97% collection rate. The total assessed levy is nearly $7.6 billion, which is up $70 million in growth from last year.


In 2020-2021, staff returned $1.8 million to the fund balance after borrowing about $6 million. In 2021-2022, staff estimate to return around $5 million.


The proposed budget for 2022-2023 includes a $4.8 million unreserved general fund balance appropriation. New revenue this year included a conservative 5% increase in sales tax and a projected 5% increase in sales tax. Moreover, new revenue will be generated from the landfill gasification system at Foothills Regional Landfill.


This budget continues with the salary study implemented in January 2022 for the full fiscal year.


“Caldwell County commissioners have ensured staff has the resources needed to fulfill our obligations to citizens,” said Duncan.


This budget also begins the Merit Pay system. Upon employees’ anniversary date and annual review, employees will be eligible for a Merit I increase of $1,000, and exceptional employees can earn Merit II for $1,000 added to their base pay.


“The focus of Merit Pay is to continue to improve the lives of our front-line employees,” Duncan said.


The budget provides the sheriff’s office with $345,000 for new body cameras. These body-worn cameras will coordinate with their in-car cameras that have license plate reader technology built in. These are valuable in protecting officers’ lives, fair and equitable treatment of our citizens, and the return of stolen property or helping find a missing person.”


“These cameras essentially pay for themselves and reduce law enforcement liability in the use of force claims,” Duncan said.


Register of Deeds Wayne Rash has proposed adding the U.S. passport program to his office and charging a nominal fee to provide for this service without the dynamic employment market.


The utility fund requires additional contracting services and staff in order to keep up with demand. Staff has requested two additional employees to implement a valve exercising program, hydrant testing, and back-flow prevention.


“Ongoing maintenance and inspections keep our systems from failing or falling into a state of disrepair, keeping basic life-giving services and clean water affordable,” said Duncan. “I recommend improving operations and maintenance inside the utility fund. The system is well-managed, and now we must turn to an eye to the future.”


Duncan said the county’s main focus should be on water storage pressure tank maintenance and repair replacement of substandard lines. The list of capital improvements is substantial and expensive but much needed.


“Another thing that I recommend in this pro-utility fund program is to have a comprehensive rate study done so the county can plan for future growth of its system,” Duncan said.


The total budget amounts to roughly $119 million. The general fund is $93 million, the education fund to the community college and the public school system is $18.8 million, and the utility fund is $7.7 million.


“In conclusion, this year’s budget is based upon your direction, the county’s long-range plans, and input received from our citizens throughout the year,” Duncan said. “The budget features added attentions that will make us competitive in this economic environment, addresses regulatory changes, and will make us competitive throughout all of our levels of service. Caldwell’s budget focuses on essential human services and is our best effort to predict future needs. It builds on past decisions and looks optimistically to the future.”


While the county’s tax rate stays put, some Caldwell residents will see a higher fire tax. Requested increases included Granite Falls Fire (14.65), Kings Creek (8.35), and Patterson Fire Rescue (12.95). These increases were requested mainly for additional personnel as volunteerism has dropped statewide.


The Board of Commissioners unanimously approved the county’s budget for fiscal year 2022-23 as presented.


In other news, Deborah Murray, executive director for the Economic Development Commission, presented a proposal for a Local Jobs Incentive for FleetGenius, an environmental solutions company, which recently acquired the industrial containers manufacturing business Bakers Waste in Lenoir.


The Local Jobs Incentive requests a dramatic expansion to the company by adding 120 news jobs at $2,000 per job to be created over the next year. The company’s jobs pay on average equal or more to county’s average, which is roughly $43,000.


Andreas Gruson, owner of FleetGenius, was in attendance and spoke to the commissioners about his excitement for the Lenoir facility and workforce.


“It’s been a tremendous six months that we’ve owned it,” said Gruson, “and we’ve seen a lot of positivity and excitement. We grew FleetGenius from about 100 employees three years ago to today, we’ve got 600 employees. Our intent is to to the same thing in Lenoir … Our goal is to expand the coverage of this plant, and bring Lenoir’s finest to the rest of the country.”


The board approved the Local Jobs Incentive unanimously.


Moreover, the commissioners approved Josh Angle’s appointment as the Caldwell County Tax Administrator.


6-9-2022 – Craftmaster Furniture Is Awarded Supplier of The Year by Decorating Den Interiors Group

Posted on: June 9th, 2022 by admin No Comments


June 9, 2022



Craftmaster Furniture was recently named “Supplier of the Year” for the Decorating Den Interiors Design Group based out of Easton Md. This award was presented at the annual conference held in Myrtle Beach, S.C. on May 24th. The event is a 4 day design seminar and is attended by over 250 Design members from around the country. Craftmaster also received an award for the 3rd largest supplier out of 160 and the largest furniture supplier.


“It is such an honor for Craftmaster Furniture to be selected as the Supplier of the Year by the Decorating Den members.  We have worked hard to provide the quality and service level that the Designers deserve and expect from a key supplier.


We are very excited about the growth opportunity Craftmaster has with the Design members going forward.  We thank all of the Decorating Den members for voting for Craftmaster and we will always do our best to continue to provide the level of service they expect from us.” said Barbara Calcagne Director of Interior Design Sales for Craftmaster.


“It has been our goal since establishing our To the Trade program 5 years ago that we provide a high-quality upholstered product that is stylish and customizable, yet affordable to the Design Community”.


“We are very proud to receive this award for the 3rd time in 5 years and I wish to thank Barbara, Lacy Reich and Corrie Craig for their hard work and dedication in creating our To the Trade Design division for the company.  We have had tremendous growth in the Design space under their leadership”.



About Craftmaster Furniture
Craftmaster Furniture was founded in 1972 in Taylorsville, N.C. and specializes in moderately priced upholstery produced in the U.S.A. by 650 highly skilled Associates. Craftmaster offers a broad selection of upholstered products and provides custom order, with over 150 living room styles, 100 accents chairs and over 800 fabrics to choose from. For more information, visit

About Decorating Den Interiors

Decorating Den Interiors was founded in 1969 and has interior design professionals and decorators throughout the U.S. and Canada. Its design professionals offer full-service interior design that includes fine furniture, case goods, accessories, lighting, floor and wall coverings, draperies, and other hard and soft window treatments from its custom LIVV Home Collection™ of furnishings. Its design professionals bring samples directly to the client’s home or office, provide complimentary design services and personally oversee projects through installation. 

6-6-2022- County leaders get a look at planned road improvements

Posted on: June 6th, 2022 by admin No Comments


June 6, 2022




Jun 3, 2022


LENOIR — On Thursday, June 2, the Caldwell County Board of Commissioners met to discuss various transportation project updates in the county.


“There’s multiple good things happening with Caldwell County transportation,” said County Manager Donald Duncan. “It’s odd because counties don’t usually do transportation … that falls upon the state and municipal governments, but it does impact us, nonetheless.”


Brian Horton with the Western Piedmont Council of Governments (WPCOG) presented a PowerPoint slideshow to the commissioners.


“Traffic is back up again,” Horton said. “In spring, April and May of 2020, people stopped driving or there weren’t as many people driving. But traffic is where it was and growing on top of that … Connelly Springs Road is actually the highest road that’s not a U.S./N.C. route in traffic volume.”


In terms of funding for these construction projects, more projects are being funded and completed instead of having their completion dates pushed back.


“Caldwell County is in relatively good shape compared to the rest of our region in that regard,” Horton said.


The Statewide Transportation Improvement Program (STIP) is a staged, multi-year, statewide program of transportation projects, consistent with the statewide transportation plan and planning processes, as well as metropolitan areas, transportation improvement programs (TIP), and planning processes. The STIP must be developed in cooperation with the metropolitan planning organizations, public transit providers, and any Regional Transportation Planning Organizations (RTPO) in the state.


“First time ever that the new budget coming out, the 2024-2033 STIP, has fewer projects than the prior 10-year budget,” said Horton. “That’s unprecedented. To try to mitigate that, they’ve allowed what they call ‘swaps.’ If you want to maybe change some projects out and put some projects in, you can do that.”


However, there are not many swap opportunities in Caldwell because the county is already on track for these projects.


One major project proposed is a roundabout at the intersection of Dudley Shoals and Grace Chapel roads.


Another proposal will set an offset intersection and a new traffic signal at Calico Road, with construction starting in 2023.


Also in 2023, construction is scheduled to begin at the U.S. 321/Mount Herman Road intersection, U.S. 321/Pinewood Mountain Rd intersection, and the U.S. 321/Mission Road intersection.


At 321A in Granite Falls, a roundabout was proposed at South Caldwell because of the school traffic in that area.


Additionally, there’s a big project in Granite Falls on 321A downtown out to Pine Mountain to add turn lanes in key places.


“With the railroad there, all those improvements are shifting the roads to the west,” said Horton. “This creates an opportunity downtown to create and reorganize the square. We’re going to realign Dudley Shoals Rd to make it come more opposite of the post office and school, maybe enclose the Dudley alley to become a sort of event space and mix the traffic with a pedestrian area.”


On Alex Lee Boulevard, a contact diamond interchange will enable traffic to flow faster at the light near the Granite Falls Wal-mart.


The commissioners considered these proposals but did not vote on these changes.


“The county does not maintain roads,” said Public Information Officer Paige Counts. “But county leadership can voice their concerns and thoughts to the state and advocate for certain projects.”

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