Archive for March, 2017

3/21/2017 – Dairy Queen celebrates Lenoir opening with ribbon-cutting ceremony

Posted on: March 21st, 2017 by admin


March 21, 2017


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Dairy Queen marked its grand opening in Lenoir with a ribbon-cutting ceremony. Operated by Minnesota-based Fourteen Foods, the franchise marks the first in North Carolina for the company that owns nearly 200 locations throughout the Midwest and the Southeast.


The ceremony included Fourteen Foods CEO Matt Frauenshuh and COO Jill Walz.


A large crowd gathered before the opening in order to take advantage of a promotion for Dairy Queen’s signature Blizzard menu item.


The restaurant is located in the former Jack-in-the-Box that closed two years ago.


According to company officials, the Dairy Queen site will employ approximately 70 individuals.

3/17/2017 – Caldwell County posts largest monthly jobs increase this century

Posted on: March 17th, 2017 by admin


March 17, 2017


Caldwell County recorded its largest monthly employment increase this century in January, according to data released by the N.C. Department of Commerce.


In the report, Caldwell added 695 jobs thanks to 893 individuals joining the labor market. Caldwell also recorded 34,483 people working, the best number since November 2008.


The unemployment rate rose in all 100 counties across the state, including .4 of a percentage point in Caldwell to 5.6 percent. That total, however, is below the 6 percent rate posted in January of last year and is the lowest January jobless rate since 2001.


In addition, Caldwell jumped from 47th in overall unemployment in December to a tie for 36th in January. Seven years ago at the height of the Great Recession, Caldwell languished in 98th place.




3/10/2017 – Aiken Controls celebrates renovated building with ribbon cutting

Posted on: March 10th, 2017 by admin


March 10, 2017



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Chris Aiken held an interest in electronics from a young age, and he helped his father install machinery and wiring for $2 an hour when he was 12.


This interest grew through the years and eventually led to the company he now operates on West Avenue in downtown Lenoir – Aiken Controls – which designs control panels for different types of manufacturing machinery. The company renovated and moved into the building last summer, and the Caldwell County Economic Development Commission, along with the Caldwell Chamber of Commerce, held a ceremonial ribbon cutting for the company.


The building was vacant for years and most recently had been an electronics supply store. Aiken saw the building as the perfect opportunity to expand his business.


The company was originally housed in a small, 4,000-square-foot building on Realty  Street, Aiken said. Now that the company is in a 15,000-square-foot building, there’s plenty of room for growth, he said. The company also has a small office in Nancy, France.


“We really needed the office space because we’ve expanded some positions in engineering,” Aiken said. “And then we didn’t have any fabrication area. We were really trying to do everything in one space. We needed the facilities for what we were doing and the kind of work we were doing.”


Aiken said he has added three employees since the move and intends to add another position soon.


“We do industrial controls predominantly,” Aiken said. “And that ranges from simple controls that go on a single machine that would control the operation of the machine, through full production lines. What we’re moving more and more to is larger machines an also some standard products that we’ll be putting into the industrial market … We do a little bit of everything.”


Aiken said at least half of his business comes from the solid wood industry.


“We take boards and scan them,” he said. “We have high-speed scanning equipment. We scan the boards at like 1,000 feet per minute. We find the shape, we find defects. And then we calculate the best cutting pattern for that board. Then we control the machinery to rip it into strips and cross-cut it into pieces.”


Another piece of machinery the company is working on is a 3D sensor that can verify what is contained in a box and check each layer for the appropriate pieces. This technology is being tested for used by Ikea, so that each box can be verified to have all the pieces in it before it’s given to a customer, Aiken said. The machine can detect measurements for length, width, and distance.


Aiken said business has continued to expand across the U.S., Canada, Mexico, and parts of Europe.


By Briana Adhikusuma, (Lenoir) News-Topic



3/8/2017 – Renovations planned for 2 Granite Falls buildings

Posted on: March 8th, 2017 by admin


March 8, 2017


A Granite Falls company plans to renovate two historic downtown warehouses as part of a previously announced expansion plan.


Amp Services, Inc., which distributes and manufactures LED lighting, and the Town of Granite Falls, will apply for a $400,000 state grant to assist with the renovation to its building at 30 North Main Street, which are expected to cost at least $800,000 over two years.


Amp representative Brittany Scruggs said the company will restore the roof, add new dock doors and lighting. The company moved into the building in 2009 after previously beginning operations in the home of owner Austin Powell.


The renovations of the warehouse and the one next door at 1 South Main Street, which the company bought in October, are part of a $5-million investment in a three-year expansion plan that the company says will create up to 40 new jobs.


By Jordan Davis, (Lenoir) News-Topic


3/8/2017 – Caldwell County competing for a pair of business expansions

Posted on: March 8th, 2017 by admin


March 8, 2017


Caldwell County is competing with sites in other states for two business expansions that could total up to 125 jobs, county officials said.


The names of both companies have not been released at the request of the companies, according to materials presented to the Caldwell County Board of Commissioners before it approved incentives offers for the two.


The larger of the two possible expansions, identified as Project Joynes, involves an investment of up to $20 million that could create up to 100 full-time jobs over three years, according to Caldwell County Economic Development Commission Executive Director Deborah Murray.


The commissioners approved incentives of $2,000 for each job actually created. That money would serve as the county’s matching funds for the company to apply for state grants, including a grant to assist with building renovations, Murray said.


The second company, referred to as Project Transfer, is a local “warehouse and transportation outfit” that was bought by a company based in Tennessee. Murray said she has been working to encourage the company to transfer base operations to Caldwell from Tennessee, which would create up to 25 full-time jobs over three years.


The commissioners approved incentives of $2,000 for each job actually created, and the money would also serve as the county’s matching funds for the company to apply for a state grant.


Jobs incentives are not paid until after jobs have been documented as created and filled for one year, and the money can be reclaimed if the job goes away before another year.


In another economic development decision, the commissioners approved selling a nearly 15-acre property on Beecher Anderson Road, across from the National Guard Readiness Center, to a company identified as Project Zero for $50,000.


The sale is contingent on the company receiving a state grant, and the county must first advertise the sale to see if anyone is willing to pay more. The company plans to give back a portion of the property to the county, Murray said.


If Project Zero were to come to Caldwell, the company would create up to 30 full-time jobs. The company is considering sites in other states, Murray said.


By Briana Adhikusuma, (Lenoir) News-Topic




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