Archive for September, 2017

9/27/2017 – Caldwell is Hiring highlights ongoing growth in county

Posted on: September 27th, 2017 by admin


September 27, 2017


By Virginia Annable
(Lenoir) News-Topic


Jobs in Caldwell County are changing, and Caldwell County Economic Development Commission Executive Director Deborah Murray knows it.


That’s why this fall’s 15th Caldwell is Hiring isn’t just about getting people jobs, it’s about getting people better jobs.


The event started in 2010 as a way to give people in Caldwell hope that there were jobs out there for them at a time when the unemployment rate was barely below its peak of 17 percent, though now the number has been as low as 4 percent his year. In 2010, there were 15 employers at the event; now there will be 50 – and the game has changed.


The event is about helping people who have jobs find better jobs now, Murray said, and showing people that better jobs are available at companies in Caldwell County. The event opens people’s eyes to the growing number of jobs and businesses right in their own backyard.


“This is about telling people there are opportunities here for the taking,” Murray said.


The companies that will be at the event will have more than 2,000 jobs available, in areas from industrial and machinery to customer service and health care. Many Caldwell companies will be there, along with companies from outside the county.


“We believe the very best jobs are being created in Caldwell County,” Murray said.


More of the jobs require higher qualifications or training, some is provided on-site at certain companies, but this isn’t meant to deter people from coming, Murray said. She hopes it shows people what kind of jobs are out there, even if they aren’t qualified for the position yet.


To get qualified, Murray said she encourages people to get training at Caldwell Community College and Technical Institute, and also to aspire higher.


“Caldwell is Hiring is not the end of the process … It’s simply another way to expose Caldwell’s resident to different opportunities,” Murray said.


Murray added that getting these jobs takes perseverance, and while going to the big event may not seem like the best way to get them, she thinks it makes the job hunt efficient by putting all of the jobs in one place.


“If you’re somebody that doesn’t want to (utilize) a morning waiting in line for a job … then maybe you aren’t serious enough about improving your income and career opportunities,” Murray said.


Murray said the best determination of how well the event works is not about how many people get jobs. Instead, she said it’s more about getting individuals to expand their outlook. She added that she is pleased that most, if not all, of the companies that are participating have attended Caldwell is Hiring in the past.



9/22/2017 – Pre-registration for Caldwell is Hiring to begin on Tuesday, September 26

Posted on: September 22nd, 2017 by admin


September 22, 2017


Pre-registration for the 15th Caldwell is Hiring will begin on Tuesday, September 26. The pre-registration process allows attendees to skip the orientation process and get their name tags in order to meet with employers. Caldwell is Hiring is set for Wednesday, October 25 from 8:30 a.m. until Noon at the J.E. Broyhill Civic Center in Lenoir.


Pre-registration will be available at NCWorks from 8 a.m, until 4:30 p.m. on Mondays through Thursdays and from 8 a.m. until Noon on Fridays. Pre-registration also is available at the Caldwell Community College and Technical Institute’s Employment Service Center in Hudson on Tuesdays through Thursdays from 8 a.m. until 5 p.m.


9/21/2017 – Exela Pharma Sciences receives state manufacturing award

Posted on: September 21st, 2017 by admin


September 21, 2017








(Photos courtesy of NCMEP)

Pharmaceutical manufacturer Exela Pharma Sciences has earned the 2017 Manufacturing Leadership Award in the area of Developing Markets.


The award is sponsored by the North Carolina Manufacturing Extension Partnership (NCMEP), a public-private operating alliance working to help manufacturing companies become operationally efficient and well positioned to grow profitably.


Lenoir-based Exela was recognized by North Carolina Gov. Roy Cooper during a ceremony Wednesday at the 2017 Manufacturing Leadership Awards at mfgCON in Winston-Salem. The state awards program recognizes manufacturers for their commitment to the North Carolina manufacturing sector, as proven by outstanding performance in the areas of Innovation, Sustainable Manufacturing, Advanced Talent Development, Developing Markets and Continuous Improvement.


“Our state’s manufacturers continue to expand and excel in performance, leading to sustained customer satisfaction,” said Phil Mintz, NCMEP director and executive director of N.C. State’s Industry Expansion Solutions (IES). “It is important that we continue to nurture and recognize the contributions of smaller plants as they lead the way in manufacturing growth and innovation throughout North Carolina.”


Exela manufactures 19 high-quality, sterile injectable pharmaceutical products in its state-of-the-art laboratories. Its life-saving pharmaceutical products are used to control blood pressure during surgery, to seal heart valve defects in neonatal premature babies, and to fight infection in severely immunocompromised patients, to name just a few of its applications.


Exela began its Lenoir operations 10 years ago with a handful of employees in a 5,000-square-foot building. Fast forward to 2017: the company now includes manufacturing space, a 140,000-square-foot corporate headquarters and 153,000 square feet of warehousing facilities. The company is currently undertaking a $25 million renovation of an 86,000-square-foot industrial building that will serve as its most advanced manufacturing facility.


”Exela is proud to be part of the growing manufacturing excellence in North Carolina,” Exela President and CEO Phanesh Koneru said. “Without the outstanding support of the City of Lenoir, Caldwell County and its Economic Development Commission, the State of North Carolina, and the United States Department of Agriculture throughout the many years, Exela could not have grown this rapidly.”


Exela has 250 employees whose average wages are 40 percent higher than the average for the county. The company recently announced plans to add an additional 40 full-time employees to its workforce over the next year.


“While we are proud of all of our manufacturing companies in Caldwell County, it is especially gratifying when one of them is recognized at the state level,” Caldwell County EDC Executive Director Deborah Murray said. “Exela exemplifies so much of what we have been trying to do in order to diversify our employment base and increase household incomes.”


Other award winners were:

  • Sustainable Manufacturing – Mirimichi Green, Wilmington
  • Advanced Talent Development – Fairystone Fabrics, Burlington
  • Innovation – Core Technology, Greensboro
  • Continuous Improvement – Aplix, Inc., Charlotte
  • Manufacturing Excellence – Eaton Corporation, Roxboro

9/20/2017 – Employment agency Onin Staffing moving offices to Granite Falls

Posted on: September 20th, 2017 by admin


September 20, 2017


Employment agency Onin Staffing has announced it will be moving its offices from Valdese to Granite Falls, effective October 1.


Onin Staffing Branch Manager Lori Wilcox said the company will be locating at 23 Pinewood Road behind the Pizza Hut and adjacent to the Grease Monkey.


Wilcox said the move to Granite Falls will make the company more easily accessible to its surrounding client base. She added the company’s phone numbers will remain the same, however, there could be some downtime during the transition period.

9/13/2017 – Data show economic surge for Caldwell County

Posted on: September 13th, 2017 by admin


September 13, 2017


By Guy Lucas
(Lenoir) News-Topic

The best known measure of Caldwell County’s economic rebound is in the local unemployment rate, which stood at 4.5 percent in July, down from 17 percent in early 2010.


But from industrial growth to tax revenue collections, other measures also show the county’s growing economic health, Caldwell County Economic Development Commission Executive Director Deborah Murray said.


There have been more than 30 new companies to come to the county since 2008. Just in the past five years, the growth of 18 companies tracked by the EDC staff has increased the value of their property (real and personal) by 43.7 percent to $277.19 million, while the county’s overall property tax value grew by 10.6 percent, Murray told the EDC’s Board of Directors.


“I never thought five years ago we could be where we are today,” Murray said.


The improvement is more notable because, in some cases, long-vacant industrial properties had been assigned assessed values for tax purposes that were much higher than what the properties eventually sold for, so the official starting point for measuring the change was inflated, she said.


The largest change in dollar amount was for Merchants Distributors Inc’s grocery distribution warehouse south of Granite Falls, which because of expansion over the past five years increased 20.6 percent in value to $124.49 million.


Other notable changes include Woodgrain Millwork, up 317.5 percent to $17.1 million; Sealed Air Corp., up 166.5 percent to $19.5 million; Exela Pharma Sciences, up 121.1 percent to $19.39 million; Associated Hardwoods, up 65.3 percent to $10.1 million; Bakers Waste Equipment, up 37.7 percent to $2.67 million.


Accordingly, Caldwell County’s overall property tax revenue has climbed 11.9 percent since 2013, after changing little for several years, Murray said.


The county collected $38.3 million in property taxes in fiscal 2010-11 and $38.8 million in fiscal 2013-14, but then collections grew to $43.4 million in fiscal 2016-17.


U.S. Census Bureau estimates also show that median household income has climbed for two years. After hitting a low of $34,811 in 2015, the median household income for Caldwell this year is $39,636, an increase of nearly 14 percent.


Along with that, the county’s poverty rate peaked at 20.8 percent in 2013 but has dropped to 16.2 percent this year, the Census Bureau estimates.


“That is probably one of the most significant needles we could move,” Murray said.


9/3/2017 – Bargain Hunt fills retail void at Lenoir Festival Shopping Center

Posted on: September 3rd, 2017 by admin


September 3, 2017


By Virginia Annable
(Lenoir) News-Topic

Another long-vacant storefront on Blowing Rock Boulevard has been filled as Lenoir’s retail economy continues to grow.


Bargain Hunt, a discount retailer based in Tennessee, opened at the Lenoir Festival Shopping Center, where Belk and Tractor Supply operate. Bargain Hunt’s 25,000-square-foot facility is part of what used to be a Bi-Lo grocery store.


Bargain Hunt is relatively new to North Carolina. The Lenoir store is just the third Bargain Hunt in the state, with the other two stores in Charlotte and Shelby. In fact, the Shelby store just opened on July 21.


Bargain Hunt has been in expansion mode the two years. It opened 11 new stores in 2015, 20 in 2016 – including the Charlotte store – and plans to open 20 more by the end of 2017. The company currently operates 77 stores across the Midwest and Southeast.


Bargain Hunt advertises itself as offering name-brand merchandise with discounts that escalate over time, based on the date shown on the price tag, until the price eventually could reach 90 percent off.


“We’re very excited to have something back in this beautiful building and bringing more life to the shopping center,” Lenoir Mayor Joe Gibbons said.


Bargain Hunt is the third major retailer to open in Lenoir since the middle of 2015. The others are Dunham Sports and Harbor Freight Tools.


Bargain Hunt came to Lenoir in part through the efforts of the Caldwell County Economic Development Commission. Caldwell County EDC Executive Director Deborah Murray said retail is just as important as other industries to the EDC.


“We’re very fortunate to have the opportunity to aggressively pursue retail,” Murray said. “Retail does provide good jobs, they provide retail careers, and they also provide full-time and part-time jobs, seasonal jobs, flexibility in schedules, first-time jobs. Lots of good things come out of retail, not to mention a great shopping experience,



9/1/2017 – Bargain Hunt celebrates grand opening with ribbon-cutting ceremony

Posted on: September 1st, 2017 by admin


September 1, 2017


Despite a few raindrops, Caldwell County celebrated the official grand opening of the new Bargain Hunt with a ribbon-cutting ceremony at the Lenoir Festival Shopping Center.


Speakers at the event included Bargain Hunt Store Manager Tamara Theogene, Lenoir Mayor Joe Gibbons, Caldwell County Board of Commissioners Vice Chairman Mike LaBrose, and Caldwell County Economic Development Commission Executive Director Deborah Murray.


Folks lined up to witness the ceremony then took part in the formal opening.


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