Apr. 04, 2014 @ 08:48 AM

New tourism effort targets traditional music

Places in Caldwell County that host performances of traditional music are being invited to add their events to a new website targeting tourists interested in the music.

The site,, which formally launches next week but already is online, is currently the most visible part of efforts begun last year to create the Blue Ridge Music Trails of North Carolina, this state’s counterpart to Virginia’s Crooked Road, a 333-mile-long trail through southwestern Virginia.

Apr. 04, 2014 @ 08:50 AM

Caldwell is Hiring draws hundreds for most diverse job set yet

Hundreds of people made their way through the J.E. Broyhill Civic Center Thursday for the Caldwell is Hiring job fair, sifting through the hundreds of available jobs – the most diverse grouping for the event since it started in 2010.

Mar. 30, 2014 @ 07:39 AM

New business rising in downtown Lenoir

Dustin Hartley stood with his sleeves rolled up and hair falling in his face as he bent over a throttle body, working to take it apart. Even before the grand opening of his new auto garage in downtown Lenoir, Hartley was hard at work on one of his passions.

Hartley hopes soon to his new auto garage in a long-unused garage site. The building's address is 118 Lewis Price Blvd., but the entrances faces the back of the Lenoir Fire Department on the lot below the street. The place still needs a lot of work -- as Hartley worked, nearby picture frames at the edge of the dusty floor leaned against the battered brick walls, and two large toolboxes overflowed with tools, batteries, papers and cough drops -- but compared to what it was, Hartley has made significant improvements.

Mar. 29, 2014 @ 01:01 AM

Heritage Home closing another N.C. plant

The longtime Pearson Co. home furnishings plant in High Point will close later this year, the third plant in the area that will be closed by the company that took over the lines of bankrupt Furniture Brands International four months ago. This time, 86 employees will be affected.

Mar. 28, 2014 @ 02:55 PM

Bernhardt Furniture, still locally owned, reaches milestone

Alex Bernhardt Jr., now the chief executive officer and president of Bernhardt Furniture, and his cousin Rountree Collett, the company’s chief operating officer, both emphasize their company’s deep roots in the community – not the roots of the family that founded the company 125 years ago, but the roots of the workers, many of whom have followed parents and grandparents into the company’s factories here.

Bernhardt Furniture is celebrating the 125th anniversary of its founding – which was at 2 p.m. March 28, 1889 – with birthday cakes and balloons at each of its factories and its headquarters today.

Mar. 26, 2014 @ 08:26 AM

Lenoir weighs tax increase

Members of Lenoir's city council are in agreement on what to spend money on, but not on where to get it from.

Mar. 25, 2014 @ 07:41 AM

Rumors of headquarters move swirl in High Point

High Point and the furniture industry have been abuzz of late with talk that Heritage Home Group could be planning to move its corporate headquarters to the city.

Mar. 21, 2014 @ 05:08 PM

Caldwell County unemployment resists trend

Caldwell County saw a tiny uptick in its unemployment rate for January, but a state official called it an expected seasonal change – and most counties saw a larger seasonal increase.

More importantly, the number of people who reported being employed went up by more than 500.

Mar. 20, 2014 @ 07:06 PM

Foothills Regional Airport charts future

Leaders at the Foothills Regional Airport should work to market the airport better to the public and potential businesses – the airport’s main problem, participants at a long-term planning meeting said Thursday.

Representatives from local governments, businesses and community colleges met with airport leaders in Morganton to discuss the future of the airport, its challenges and its opportunities. The meeting was the first step in creating a master airport layout plan.

Mar. 20, 2014 @ 08:38 AM

Lenoir officials discuss new fee

Lenoir may start assessing residents and businesses with a fee to help pay for the cost of handling storm water runoff.

Establishing a storm water utility, giving city employees raises and updating water and sewer facilities were among topics discussed at the first planning meeting with the Lenoir City Council, department heads and city staff for the fiscal 2014-15 budget.

Mar. 19, 2014 @ 04:02 PM

Lenoir agrees to revised deal to buy transload facility

Lenoir agreed Tuesday night to purchase the controversial transload facility in partnership the county, but the deal nearly failed.

After a nearly hour-long closed session at the end of their meeting Tuesday night, members of the Lenoir City Council voted 4-3 to approve the deal.

Mar. 16, 2014 @ 09:47 AM

Cattlemen find fellowship in association

Philip Wike was raised in farming cattle. His father and his grandfather before him raised cattle, and today the family owns and rents farms in Caldwell County, raising cattle, chickens, corn and more.

With farming, each day is a new experience, and he gets to work outdoors. But, he said, the most rewarding is getting to see things grow up, seeing the fruits of his labor, working for himself and being his own person.

For Wike, the newly elected president of the Caldwell County Cattlemen’s Association, there’s no other way to live.

Mar. 15, 2014 @ 10:18 AM

Granite Tape built from scratch

In 1983, Barton Potter was running a drywall company, Potter Drywall, when his tape and plastic supplier proposed an idea: If someone built a machine to re-roll tape, they could make a lot of money.

Potter, skilled in engineering and mechanical work, decided to build one – going into business with the tape supplier until the beginning of 1984, when he bought him out and founded Granite Tape Company. The company takes in large rolls of manufactured tape, some as big as 68 inches, and re-rolls them into smaller rolls ready to be sold in a retail store.

Mar. 13, 2014 @ 02:46 PM

Businesses shuffle in downtown Lenoir

The first few months of 2014 are bringing with them a few changes to the business landscape in downtown Lenoir.

At Carolina Mist Winery, the main wine rack sits empty, and on the counter is a single bottle of white wine – the last available for purchase from Lenoir’s sole winery.

Mar. 09, 2014 @ 09:34 AM

In Hudson, the oldest public forum is still the one that comes with a trim

Inside a small, brick building in Hudson, over the sound of scissors slicing into hair, the conversation flows without stalling, as it has for 45 years.  

Opened as Hall’s Barbershop in 1969, under owner Stanley Hall, the building serves an identical purpose today. It’s now Andy’s Barbershop, operated by Andy Johnson, a barber who got his haircuts at Hall’s as a kid.  

But calling Johnson a childhood customer of Hall’s is probably underselling the relationship.

Mar. 09, 2014 @ 08:14 AM

Blue Ridge Tissue more than meets the eye

After hearing of Blue Ridge Tissue Company for the first time, one would think that the product would be narrowly focused -- maybe a few varieties of tissue paper.

But from the company’s 78,000-square-foot facility on Yadkin River Road in Patterson, 25 distinct grades of tissue and nearly 2,000 other products are produced and shipped internationally.

Mar. 07, 2014 @ 08:37 AM

Broyhill layoffs due to low business, ex-worker says

“It’s not fair what they’ve done to us and the way they’ve done it,” said the former employee, who asked not to be named, adding that the 20 or so laid-off employees were mostly upholsterers hired in the past six months.

Mar. 07, 2014 @ 08:31 AM

Building computers; building the future

At each of eight tables, students hovered over a black, metal box, unpacking rainbow-colored wires and shining metal parts, diving in to assemble the pieces, looking more like surgeons on the operating table than students putting together computers.

Thursday was the third annual computer-building workshop with Google, and this year the focus was on teaching kids just what it takes to work in the technology and computer-based fields, including more than just the working parts of a computer.

Mar. 06, 2014 @ 09:14 AM

Broyhill quietly makes layoffs in Lenoir

Heritage Home Group told Broyhill Furniture employees of layoffs from its Lenoir operations on Monday, two employees told the News-Topic separately, but the company's management has not publicly announced it and did not return calls about it Wednesday.

Mar. 05, 2014 @ 08:55 AM

Lenoir downtown development director to leave for Harnett County

For nearly four years, Nick Dula has worked to bring businesses to Lenoir and revitalize a struggling downtown.

But after next week the city will have to get along without him.

Mar. 04, 2014 @ 03:04 PM

Hibriten grad gives ASU students gift of a first impression

Tiffany Davis, a Hibriten High School graduate and a senior management major at Appalachian, came up with the idea as she watched students file in to networking events hosted by the business school. You’d see “black suit, black suit, black suit … cargo pants,” Davis said — students were making do with what they could afford, and not all could afford professional attire.

Mar. 02, 2014 @ 10:14 AM

Contamination brings transload deal back again

After environmental contamination derailed a previous deal for Lenoir and Caldwell County to buy the freight-transfer operation known as the transload facility, a smaller, less expensive deal emerged.

But while the Caldwell County Board of Commissioners signed off on it a month ago, the new proposal awaits a decision by the Lenoir City Council — which has not publicly discussed it, scheduled it for consideration any time soon and has no timetable for doing so.

Feb. 26, 2014 @ 07:52 AM

Caldwell's economic successes of 2013 celebrated

Since Exela Pharma Sciences came to Lenoir in 2008, many people have had the same question for the company’s president and CEO.

“A lot of people ask me, ‘Why Lenoir?’” Phanesh Koneru said Tuesday while accepting the Industry of the Year award for Exela at the annual Caldwell Economic Development Celebration at the J.E. Broyhill Civic Center. “Probably by God’s grace, maybe, and maybe part coincidence.”

The Caldwell County Economic Development Commission presented the Herman Anderson Award to Allen Stewart, a retired architect whom the EDC described as “a man of civic enterprise” whose far-reaching work in the community “exemplifies the qualities” of the award’s honorees.

Feb. 18, 2014 @ 10:57 AM

Making a house, a town––a home

Rose Noakes came to Lenoir deliberately, scrutinizing cities in the Southeast, staying in hotels for weeks at a time trying to find the place with the right ingredients — community, culture, people.
It wasn’t an easy journey, but when she got to Lenoir, it was an easy choice. Noakes was looking for a place to start her dream.

Feb. 13, 2014 @ 04:01 PM

Some Caldwell medical offices to delay opening

For Friday, Feb. 14, a number of divisions and services of Caldwell Memorial Hospital will open at 10:00 a.m.