12/05/06 — Duplin approves grants for three companies

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Duplin approves grants for three companies

By Matthew Whittle
Published in News on December 5, 2006 1:45 PM

KENANSVILLE -- While economic development is most often thought of in terms of bringing in new business and industry, the Duplin County Board of Commissioners took a look inward Monday morning at several local companies.

Two, Accu-Form Polymers Inc. and Moulding Solutions Inc, were approved for loans from the county's Economic Development Revolving Loan fund, while a third, United States Cold Storage Inc., was approved for an incentive grant. All three plants are planning expansions.

"Anytime an existing company is willing to expand and grow with you, that means they feel confident doing business in Duplin County," said Woody Brinson, executive director of Duplin County's Economic Develop-ment Commission. "It's a good team effort."

Accu-Form Polymers, a custom plastics company formed in Wendell in 1989, moved to Warsaw in 1993. The firm manufactures parts for marine, defense, technology and recreational industries. It also has a companion company, Hurricane Aqua Sports, which was formed in 2000 to manufacture kayaks. They employ 48 people.

Accu-Form applied for a $170,000 loan -- 12 years at a 4-percent interest rate -- from the county to help fund the purchase of new manufacturing equipment and the construction of a 10,000-square-foot addition to its existing building. The company also is putting up $180,000 of its own money.

Accu-Form's expansion is estimated to provide an investment of about $350,000 to the community -- not counting the impact of the 16 new employees the firm will be hiring.

Company president Pat Renfro explained that the expansion will allow the company to position itself for future growth. He expects to be near the 100-employee mark within two to three years.

He said the company's growth has all been made possible by the revolving loan fund, which began as a federal grant to Duplin County in the 1980s.

"One of the main reasons we came here was because we have the chance to get some of those revolving funds," Renfro said. "We're proud to be in Duplin County, but without these funds, I do not think we'd be here."

Moulding Solutions, which is a specialized provider of wood floor moulding and trim, was founded in 2001 in Chinquapin. After beginning in the back of a local hardware store, the company has expanded to include 19 employees.

Its current expansion, which is geared toward bringing its manufacturing needs in-house, will include a new 12,000-square-foot building and new equipment. It is receiving a $200,000 loan, also at 4 percent interest over 12 years.

In addition, Moulding Solutions is putting up $165,000 of its own money and has received a $480,000 grant from the Neuse River Development Authority.

It is estimated the company's expansion will create an investment of about $845,000 in Duplin County, as well as 10 to 12 new jobs.

Moulding Solutions President Chris Jones said the ability to apply for and receive such loans helps make Duplin County a good place to do business.

"We want to stay here because we've got some real good people here that we don't want to lose," he said.

And finally, the commissioners agreed to give United States Cold Storage a $87,000 grant in exchange for its expansion.

Cold Storage, a refrigerated warehouse and logistic services company, has been in Duplin County since 1997.

It is looking to double the size of its Warsaw operations, adding a 2.5-million-cubic-foot structure and 19 new employees.

Officials are estimating such growth will provide a $10 million investment to Duplin County.

The county's grant is the equivalent of a 30 percent tax refund on the annual property taxes to be paid on the company's expansion over the next five years.

County officials also will request a $25,000 grant from North Carolina's Eastern Region to assist with the project.

Brinson noted that the size of the incentive package is much smaller than the benefits the county is likely to receive.

"We're going to net more than $200,000 (in property taxes) over the five years," he said. "It's also got a snowball effect of additional sales tax and payroll tax. There are a lot of benefits."

Plus, Brinson continued, the benefit of having a local government able to help local businesses grow and expand will help down the road.

"Having satisfied existing businesses is probably the best thing we can do to recruit new businesses," he said. "Most major companies will talk to the existing industries to find out about the business climate.

"To me, the big message is that it shows our existing businesses are able to be productive here. They found a good workforce and that we provide good services."