03/01/05 — Bowden plant has new owners

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Bowden plant has new owners

By Bonnie Edwards
Published in News on March 1, 2005 1:46 PM

WARSAW -- The former Georgia Pacific plant in the Bowdens Crossroad community of northern Duplin County has new owners -- a Wayne County logging company that plans to hold equipment auctions at the site.

Georgia-Pacific sold all of the buildings and equipment on the 74-acre site in May of last year. In January, the company sold the land to Tri-M Auction and Sales. The new owners of Tri-M are Randy Mills and his brother, Wayne, and his wife, Donna. Helping them is Wayne and Donna Mills' son-in-law, Daniel Stewart. The third-generation logging family lives in the Grantham community and plans to hold their first auction sale in June or July.

Wayne Mills said Tri-M will take farm equipment on consignment to sell. The three partners are working now to obtain their auctioneer's licenses.

All that is left on the property is a couple of big buildings from which Tri-M will sell farm equipment and antiques. The partners plan to hold three or four farm equipment drive-through auctions a year and host an annual antique show-and-sale fair.

During the farm equipment auction, the seller can pull the farm equipment up under a shelter at the end of the larger 160,000 square-foot warehouse, while buyers look on from bleachers. On either side of the open bay will be large-screen televisions showing the auction and individual pieces of farm equipment that cannot be driven under the shelter.

The Mills said they also are working on obtaining a dealership for smaller equipment.

The Mills said that after they get the auction running smoothly, they will begin an annual antique fair in a 30,000 square-foot room near the larger warehouse.

Neighbors had feared the site would be converted to a hog-rendering plant. Smithfield Foods had considered the site while looking at several places to build a rendering plant.

Mills and his wife raise hogs for Goldsboro Milling Co., and say they understand the need for rendering plants. But Mrs. Mills said she would have been up in arms, too, if the company tried to put a rendering plant at Bowdens. It's a beautiful area, she said.

"I can understand the neighbors' concern," she said. "We can see our neighbors by the railroad tracks. It will not be a loud, obnoxious thing for them."

The Mills plan to eventually get into the recycling of pallets and wood waste and making mulch from the material. They bought Georgia Pacific's old conveyor belt and chip bin with that business in mind.

Already, Montcure Plywood has agreed to rent a section of the grounds to store logs that are bought in the Duplin County area until they can be transported to the plywood plant in Montcure.