Archive for August, 2017

8/31/2017 – Caldwell County sees increase in workforce, number of employed in July

Posted on: August 31st, 2017 by admin


August 31, 2017


By Guy Lucas
(Lenoir) News-Topic


Despite seasonal factors related to school-year jobs ending, the number of Caldwell County residents with jobs went up in July, according to the state’s most recent monthly report.


The county’s unemployment rate went up by 0.3 percentage points from June to 4.5 percent, with the number of Caldwell residents reporting they did not have jobs climbing by more than 100 to more than 1,600, the N.C. Labor and Economic Analysis Division reported. That increase is likely due to the end of the school year – the total number of government jobs in the Hickory-Lenoir-Morganton metropolitan statistical area dropped by 2,800 from June to July.


That partially masked the fact that the number of people reporting they have jobs went up by almost 100, to more than 34,600, and the total workforce – the number of those with jobs plus those who are actively looking for one – went up by more than 200 to just under 36,300, noted Caldwell County Economic Development Commission Executive Director Deborah Murray.


“We anticipated that this would be our highest (unemployment) rate based on the teacher numbers, but the still strong and improving story is the increased number of people working,” Murray said. “The fall reports will show the gains made in new job creation and the stability and growth of Caldwell’s economy.”


Counties across the state saw similar effects on their unemployment rate from the end of the school year. The unemployment rate rose in 93 of the state’s 100 counties from June to July. It decreased only in three coastal counties that benefit from summer beach tourism.


In neighboring Burke County the rate went up by the same amount as in Caldwell, 0.3 points, rising to 4.3 percent, and in Catawba it went up 0.2 points to 4.2 percent.


The Hickory-Lenoir-Morganton area’s overall unemployment rate of 4.3 percent tied with Winston-Salem for the sixth best among the state’s 15 metropolitan statistical areas.


8/25/2017 – Honda of North Carolina construction continues, early 2018 opening planned

Posted on: August 25th, 2017 by admin


August 25, 2017






Construction on the Honda Powerhouse motorcycle and ATV dealership continues to move along, with officials projecting an early 2018 completion and opening.


The 20,000-square-foot Honda of North Carolina, Inc. sales and service facility is located along U.S. 321 South adjacent to Lake Hickory Veterinary Hospital in Granite Falls. Framework on the building has been taking shape, and the initial roof area has been put in place.


“We are pleased with the construction so far and have been blessed with great weather and a great construction partner in David E. Looper and Company,” a Honda of North Carolina spokesperson said. “We are also very thankful for the support our website and Facebook have already received from local citizens. They certainly seem to be excited to have a Honda dealer back in the market.”


According to construction officials, an early January completion of the project is expected, provided the weather cooperates. Early phases of the project had been slowed by persistent, heavy rainfall in the region.


The Honda Powerhouse dealership – one of only 50 in the United States with the exclusive Honda brand – will offer sales and service of motorcycles, ATVs, side by sides, and power equipment.


The overall investment, not including inventory, has been projected at $3 million.


“We are hoping to have a soft opening towards the end of the January,” the Honda of North Carolina representative said. “And then we will prepare for our official grand opening in March. We already have had significant support from local motocross tracks, and we are certainly looking forward to making new friends.”


Representatives from the franchise first contacted the Caldwell County Economic Development Commission and the Town of Granite Falls about the project in the summer of 2015.


“Each day it is great to drive past the Honda of North Carolina construction site and see the progress that is being made,” Caldwell EDC Executive Director Deborah Murray said. “We are very excited to know that a significant retail operation will be opening its doors in the early part of 2018.


“We are quite pleased to know that we are adding a new dimension to retail and tourism for Caldwell County and the entire region.”


8/23/2017 – 15th Caldwell is Hiring set for Wednesday, October 25 at Broyhill Civic Center

Posted on: August 23rd, 2017 by admin


August 23, 2017


For seven years, Caldwell is Hiring has provided thousands of individuals in the job market with the opportunity to meet face-to-face with employers looking to fill immediate or future needs. And now the 15th Caldwell is Hiring has been scheduled for Wednesday, October 25 from 8:30 a.m. until Noon at the J.E. Broyhill Civic Center in Lenoir.


Sponsored by the Caldwell County Economic Development Commission and Caldwell Community College and Technical Institute, Caldwell is Hiring has developed into the premier employment event in the region. During the spring event this past May, a record 51 companies participated and more than 600 individuals attended.


Whether it is new companies – such as Ryan Al-Door – coming into the area, or long-time businesses that have attended every event, Caldwell is Hiring has featured a broad spectrum of job opportunities along with information on how individuals can improve their skills. Attendees are able to meet with a wide variety of businesses including retail, manufacturing, health care providers, and transportation companies.


“The reason that we like to attend is that it gives us a lot more resources than maybe just the foot traffic coming in,” Krista Bridgwood, human resources manager at Bemis, said. “I think that having multiple applications – sometimes we will leave there with more than 100 applications – we are going to get a lot more with that.


“I also like it because you are almost pre-interviewing someone. You get to talk with them and you remember them. It’s also just good to network with other members of the business community to see what is going on.”


Kelly Pritchard, owner and president of Hudson-based Foothills Temporary Employment, agrees.


“We have found Caldwell is Hiring to be very valuable because all of the candidates are under one roof,” said Pritchard. “This event gives us access to a wide variety of people, and we are able to reiterate to the community the services and jobs we have in Caldwell County.”


Caldwell UNC Health Care’s Tracy Enloe also has found Caldwell is Hiring to be an asset in the hiring process.


“We’ve been able to fill positions such as our business service reps and CNAs,” Enloe said. “We enjoy going and talking to people about what we have available.”


Registration for employers is now underway. Registration forms can be requested by emailing Caldwell County EDC Executive Director Deborah Murray at and filling out the required information. The number of jobs and the types of positions available, along with a contact person, must be submitted on the employer form. The past several Caldwell is Hiring events have reached capacity, so employers are encouraged to request and return their forms as soon as possible.


“Caldwell is Hiring remains a vital part of our overall mission toward helping our business community and our workforce grow,” Murray said. “We always look forward to this event, and we encourage anyone looking for a job or looking for a better job to attend.”


Information regarding available jobs will be posted on the Caldwell EDC website – – and on the Caldwell is Hiring page on Facebook.


8/16/2017 – Bargain Hunt ribbon-cutting ceremony planned for Friday, September 1

Posted on: August 16th, 2017 by admin


August 16, 2017


Bargain Hunt, a discount merchandise retailer, plans to open its doors on Friday, September 1 at 10 a.m., according to company officials. Ahead of the grand opening, a ribbon-cutting ceremony will be held at 9:30 a.m. The store is located in the Lenoir Festival shopping center that also houses Belk.


Work crews have been completing the renovation process and are beginning to stock items for the store. Headquartered in Tennessee, the store will offer an array of products including clothing, shoes, electronics and other items.


8/11/17 – White Tire Center continues to make progress in Lenoir

Posted on: August 11th, 2017 by admin


August 11, 2017


8/9/2017 – Caldwell EDC proposes plan to spur industrial construction

Posted on: August 9th, 2017 by admin


August 9, 2017


With Caldwell County limited to the number of readily available buildings suitable for industrial recruitment targets, economic development officials are developing a proposal for a program to spur new construction.


According to Caldwell County Economic Development Commission Executive Director Deborah Murray, the proposal calls for the county to create a program to offer a loan to developers for the construction of at least 50,000 square feet with 25-30-foot ceiling height needed for manufacturing uses.


Details of the proposal, which would have to go before the Caldwell County Board of Commissioners for consideration and approval, are still being developed, but the current draft calls for the loan to cover no more than 20 percent of the construction costs, up to a maximum of $500,000. The county would require repayment when the developer sold or leased the building, or within no more than five years.


Members of the Caldwell EDC Board of Directors reacted positively to the draft Murray presented.


Board Vice Chairman Marty Waters – president of Marlin Co., Inc. – said there is a clear need for more industrial space, so any new building should fill quickly.


“It’s like, ‘If we build it, will they come?’ We already have teams lined up,” Waters said.


Board member William Howard, Bernhardt Furniture’s vice president of human resources, agreed.


“The speed of business is so different today,” Howard said. “Anything we could do … to respond to immediate needs is what we need to do.”


Murray said no new industrial buildings have been built in Caldwell County “in literally decades.”


At the height of the Great Recession, there was 6 million square feet of vacant industrial space, but those buildings have been filled. Meanwhile, industrial recruitment targets tend to want to see existing buildings first, not vacant lots.


“If we had two of these (industrial buildings) under construction, we would have a string of folks interested in looking at them,” Murray said.


Murray added that she hopes a formal proposal can be presented to the county commissioners in the fall.


By Guy Lucas, (Lenoir) News-Topic


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