11/06/06 — Local businesses named among top in state

View Archive

Local businesses named among top in state

By Andrew Bell
Published in News on November 6, 2006 1:45 PM

Five Wayne County businesses were among those recognized as some of the top money makers in the state in a business magazine.

Goldsboro Milling Co., Southco Distributing Co., Pate Dawson Co., T.A. Loving Co. and Glenoit Universal Ltd. were ranked in the October 2006 edition of Business North Carolina in the top 100 private companies in the state. The annual ranking is done by Grant Thornton LLP, an accounting firm. Each company is ranked based on annual revenues.

Wayne County Development Alliance President Joanna Thompson said several of the companies had been listed as top-performing industries in the past, and it is an honor for them to be ranked again.

"I commend them for their consistency. I think it bodes well for Wayne County to have them ranked compared to other larger industries across the state," Ms. Thompson said.

The highest ranked of the five companies was Goldsboro Milling Co. The company, which serves as an integrator of turkey and hog products, was ranked 12th in North Carolina.

Goldsboro Milling director of operations John Pike said one of the company's strengths is its attention to cost-saving methods.

"In the long-term, it's the only way to survive in this business," Pike said.

Goldsboro Milling, which finalized its acquisition of the Butterball turkey brand at the beginning of October, could be ranked even higher next year, he added.

Southco Distributing Co. began in 1981 and has grown to be recognized as one of the best distributors nationally in the U.S. Distribution Journal. In 2004, the company moved into a new 220,000-square-foot facility. In Business North Carolina, Southco Distributing was ranked 30th in the state.

Southco President Sonny Wooten said the company mainly distributes convenience store goods in a five-state area. About 70 percent of the company's distribution consists of tobacco products. The products high prices have helped the company consistently rank among the best in the state, Wooten said.

The company plans to continue its increased revenue by distributing food products to convenience stores, Wooten said.

Pate Dawson Co. Chief Executive Officer and Chairman of the Board Mike Pate said the company has grown significantly over the past five years and executives believe the employees are to thank for that growth.

Pate Dawson was founded by J.H. Pate as a retail grocery business in 1885. After more than 120 years in Wayne County, the family's fourth generation now runs the company, Pate said.

"The primary reason for our success is the quality of people we've had in the company over the years," he said. "With Wayne County being our home, we've had a lot of good Wayne County people working with us."

Pate Dawson Co. distributes frozen and fresh meat and produce, beverages and paper products and is now the 39th-ranked private company in the state.

As Wayne County continues to grow, building new facilities is essential for residents and businesses. T.A. Loving Co. provides construction and pre-construction services to build water and sewer lines, wastewater treatment plants, health care facilities, senior living facilities, higher education buildings, churches, bridges and projects involving heavy concrete foundations. The company was ranked 64th statewide.

Sam Hunter, president and chief executive officer of T.A. Loving, said the company's success stems from attracting good leaders and employees since being founded in 1924.

During good economic times, like the nation and region are experiencing now, Hunter said the company is given the chance to thrive and continue to be successful.

Glenoit Universal Ltd. once thrived as a textile producer, but had to change its focus as those companies were transferred overseas, vice president of operations Jerry Bankhead said.

The company also began operations internationally, opening a plant in China that produces 50 percent of all the goods Glenoit Universal distributes, Bankhead said. Once the company's management realized the end of American textile industries was coming, he added that plans were put in place to turn the company into one of the top distributors in the region. And Glenoit Universal plans to continue down that path.

"It's difficult to say if the future is going to be positive, but we have plans in action and dynamic management," Bankhead said.