09/14/04 — Businesses to add new jobs in Duplin

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Businesses to add new jobs in Duplin

By Bonnie Edwards
Published in News on September 14, 2004 1:58 PM

Duplin County got news Monday night that at least 55 jobs will be created by new and expanding industries.

An agribusiness company is planning to locate in Calypso that will hire 30 people, and Nichols Food Service will move operations from Wallace to Warsaw and add 25 positions, according to Woody Brinson, Duplin County Economic Development director. The announcement came Monday night at the towns' board meetings.

Brinson declined to give the name of the company that was moving to Calypso. "They looked at numerous sites along CSX Railroad in three or four counties," he said. And the company has an option to buy land inside the town's zoning jurisdiction.

The company plans to hire 30 people initially when the construction project is finished in early 2006. Brinson said he is hoping spin-off businesses will come to the area.

The Duplin County commissioners have agreed to apply for a $200,000 N.C. Rural Center grant. The county is also providing a $25,000 flex grant from the N.C. Eastern Region and is applying for another $155,000 from the state Department of Commerce.

He said the company plans to make a multi-million dollar investment and wants water and sewer service from Calypso. He said he expected the company to make an official announcement in the next couple of weeks. Meanwhile, negotiations are under way with CSX Railroad and N.C. Natural Gas for their services.

He said Mount Olive Town Manager Ray McDonald has agreed to help Calypso get another 4,500 gallons a day of additional sewer capacity. Similar operations have not caused any problems, he said.

"The operation will comply with the town's zoning ordinance," said Brinson, who has been working on the arrangements with Mayor Tom Reaves for several months. There will be no cost to the town, he said, and it should be a good, clean industry.

"It does not put off any odors," he said. "Similar operations are in Wayne and Duplin counties. It will increase agricultural opportunities for our farmers."

He said the new industry will bring additional traffic to town, but he said he hoped the travelers would do business with the local merchants.

The Calypso town board voted unanimously to draft a letter supporting the project and agreed to take ownership of water and sewer lines that will be built with the county's grant money. Town Commissioner Dick Lewis said he's glad the town is getting something that will benefit the area.

"I appreciate the work you've done to get some industry to northern Duplin County," he said.

"We hope it's a beginning," Brinson said. "We hope it will grow considerably."

Nichols Food

Nichols Food Service has an option on Warsaw's Fleming building and is planning to move part of its Wallace operation to Warsaw and bring 100 jobs with it, Brinson said. Twenty-five of the jobs will be new to Duplin County.

Nichols has already recruited two businesses to lease part of the space. Brinson said those companies will bring another 45 jobs to the area. He said 28 of those jobs will be new ones.

But it's going to take extensive renovations, said Brinson.

The Warsaw town board agreed to apply for a $325,000 grant from the Rural Economic Development Center to rehabilitate the building. The N.C. Eastern Region has agreed to make a $25,000 grant to cover the local match.

Accuform Polymers is expanding, too. The town board will hold a public hearing during its next meeting on Oct. 11 to hear comments about lending the company $125,000 from the town's revolving loan fund. Brinson said the company needs the money to buy new equipment to fill orders.

The town board also voted to lend Johnson Sheffield $2,500 of the local match to a $25,000 Rural Development grant to hire a company to conduct a feasibility study and architectural analysis of a downtown building he has been restoring. The studies help identify project costs and are required for grant applications.

Sheffield's plans are to provide office space and training for starting entrepreneurs.

The vote was split, with Johnny Hollingsworth voting against the loan. He said he wants a return on his investment.