Greer Laboratories announced Monday that its new headquarters will be in the Expo building off U.S. 321 adjacent to Blue Ridge Electric Membership Corp., a short distance from its current home along Nuway Circle.
Greer, which currently has 279 employees in Caldwell County, previously announced expansion plans calling for $30 million in new investment and up to 125 new jobs over two years.
But while Greer was founded in Lenoir in 1904, it was not certain that the company would keep its headquarters here as it expanded.
Updates to a federal program for low-cost loans are dropping homebuyers in Lenoir and other small cities from eligibility in the program.
“It’s a big blow to the housing sector for the city of Lenoir,” said Tom Thuss, branch manager of Starkey Mortgage in Lenoir.
Thuss said he normally organizes six to eight of this type of U.S. Department of Agriculture loan each month. He called the changes “not a good thing for our area.”
The Lenoir City Council approved a revision Tuesday night to its guidelines for economic development incentives. If the median wage of the jobs the company is bringing will pay less than the county average, the city will not offer tax credit incentives at all, but if the median income is above the county average, incentives will be given based on number of jobs created.
Furniture Brands International Inc. has asked a federal judge to allow it to pay more than $5 million in bonuses to 55 employees, with up to $3.4 million of that going to to seven top officers, if it successfully sells its assets at auction.
The type of bankruptcy reorganization that Furniture Brands International is using is fast-moving and one that has garnered criticism and controversy lately, a law professor said.
In a traditional Chapter 11 bankruptcy filing, the company filing for bankruptcy protection would either file with a restructuring plan already in place or would create the plan during the court process, with cases taking up to five years to complete. That would include a great deal of public disclosures and review of details of the restructuring plans, said Melissa Jacoby, who teaches commercial and bankruptcy law at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.
Marty G. Waters founded Marlin Company Inc. with his mother, Linda K. Waters, in 1992, when he was the only employee, but today Marlin occupies more than 100,000 square feet and employs 30 people while producing about 1.8 million pounds of chemical products each month.
The Marlin name is a combination of the two founders, Marty and Linda, and that same family and community cohesion has pervaded the company since, now including Marty’s father and a strong presence in Lenoir.
While the state is reorganizing its economic development efforts, including eliminating funding for separate regional programs and The Rural Economic Development Center, the new structure of a public-private partnership should be more effective for communities across the state, North Carolina’s commerce secretary said during a stop in Jefferson on Thursday night.
State officials are trying to find jobs in other state prisons for employees of Western Youth Institution in Morganton, which includes some Caldwell County residents, but so far there are more people than available jobs.
Randall Miller bought his own tractor-trailer in 1974 when he was 17 years old, becoming the owner/operator of his own truck and business right after graduating high school because other trucking companies would not hire someone so young.
In 1990, he incorporated Randall Miller Co. with two trucks in Boone. On Wednesday he cut the ribbon on a new headquarters in Lenoir, 96,000 square feet housing 22 trucks and 34 employees, and he’s looking for four more workers.
The hours for the next “Caldwell is Hiring” job fair are shifting to give some opportunity to a different group: people who already have jobs.
The first six “Caldwell is Hiring” events were open primarily in the morning, and that prompted some feedback from people who said they had a job but would like the chance to find a better one – but couldn’t take a morning off work to do it, said Deborah Murray, executive director of the Caldwell County Economic Development Commission.
So the seventh “Caldwell is Hiring” will be open to the public 3-6 p.m. at the J.E. Broyhill Civil Center in Lenoir.
Ford’s Feed and Seed in Lenoir has partnered with Southern States Cooperative to bring Southern States’ products back to the city, after the closing of the Lenoir Southern States store in July.
Oaktree Capital Management, an investment firm, has agreed to all of Furniture Brands' assets except for the Lane Venture brand and will provide $140 million to allow Furniture Brands to continue to pay employees and service customers' orders during the bankruptcy process. Furniture Brands said it may sell Lane and has received some indications of interest.
It was not clear Monday how the filing will affect the company’s operations in Caldwell County in the long term.
In 2011, Los Angeles-based Oaktree Capital Management became an instant, major player in the High Point furniture market when it joined with other investors to buy High Point's three main showrooms and the World Market Center in Las Vegas.
Bemis Manufacturing Co. came to Lenoir in 1999 with 50 employees and six machines in a 28,000-square-foot facility. Today, 200 people manufacture top-of-the-line plastic products seven days a week in 330,000 square feet, and the company is still growing.
Jim Chapman, Southeast director of operations for Bemis, said the company is looking for about 20 new employees, trying to draw young people capable of programming and operating robotics and who are familiar with plastics.
Wheels have begun turning to replace the McDonald’s restaurant in Lenoir with a larger building that has two drive-through lanes.
Construction may be as far away as early 2015, but when it's time, that McDonald's will have to close so it can be torn down and the new one can be built.
The recent economic woes and uncertain future of Furniture Brands International means many company employees in Caldwell County have uncertain futures as well.
Furniture Brands has struggled more than other manufacturers to recover from the recession and reported a $40 million loss in the second quarter of 2013, prompting analyst John Baugh of the firm Stifel Nicolaus to predict that the company could soon start selling off pieces or file for bankruptcy protection, and investment firm Raymond James released a report on the company Aug. 7 titled “Oh My! Circling the Drain – Faster and Faster.”
In Hudson, a company manufactures enough of its product each year to circle the globe five times.
And if the product were wrapped five times around the globe, it would probably hold it together too.
Shurtape Technologies Inc. makes a number of packaging and duct tapes.
It’s Party Time, a locally owned party-supply store on Wilkesboro Boulevard in Lenoir, will close in September.
For the first time in nearly five years, Caldwell County’s unemployment rate has dropped below 10 percent.
The rate in July was 9.9 percent, down from 10.3 in June, according to figures released Wednesday by the N.C. Labor and Economic Analysis Division. The last time the rate was under 10 percent was October 2008, when it was 8.8 percent.
Keith Johnston does the same thing his father did before him, something that his grandfather patented, but Johnston has added his influence to theirs and created a business that has thrived through an economy and a market that has done the opposite.
Even as the furniture industry has faltered, his company has been able to grow, the biggest problem not being a lack of customers but a lack of veneer, or the sheets that are glued together to make the plywood that Bruex Inc. manufactures.
Beleaguered Furniture Brands International Inc. gained a brief respite earlier this week as investors reacted to a Wall Street Journal story saying the company's management has hired restructuring lawyers and advisers to deal with its debt load.
Its share price rose 11.3 percent Tuesday, or by 8 cents to 79 cents. But it dropped back Wednesday, and on Thursday it closed at 68 cents, lower than it started before the news of restructuring advisers.
The Hartford has announced that it is making its popular AARP-branded auto insurance program available through Granite Insurance in Granite Falls.
A Pennysylvania-based company that restores railroad cars plans to buy the old Delta Electric building on Fairview Drive in Lenoir and hire up to 10 people over the next two years for a restoration operation there, officials said Monday night.
Pontrelli Rail Equipment Repair Company hopes to complete its purchase by the first of October and plans to invest $750,000 to $1 million in the building, Deborah Murray, the executive director of the Caldwell County Economic Development Commission, told the Caldwell County Board of Commissioners.
Kincaid Furniture’s plant in Hudson was evacuated Thursday and remained closed Friday after workers noticed a depression in the floor of the plant.
More than 10 years after the North Carolina furniture industry began its decline, workers in skilled jobs such as upholstery not only are still needed, the demand for them is growing. But the men and women who were trained in upholstery (and in jobs like sewing and cutting) when furniture was at its peak are now reaching retirement age or have left the industry – and it has become tougher for furniture factories to find the skilled workers they need.
“There’s definitely an opportunity for upholstery,” said Alvin Daughtridge, vice president of Fairfield Chair Company. “There’s a shortage of upholsterers in the line.”
Caldwell Community College & Technical Institute has tried to meet that need through its Upholstery Institute, a three-month course that aims to equip students with the skills they need for entry-level upholstery jobs.