08/18/09 — Local plant will move to Clayton by Sept. 1

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Local plant will move to Clayton by Sept. 1

By Steve Herring
Published in News on August 18, 2009 1:46 PM

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Turkington USA

Turkington USA and its 120 jobs will begin moving out of the county by the end of the week, and by Sept. 1 will occupy a facility on U.S. 70 West at Clayton.

The move comes after efforts by the Wayne County Development Alliance failed to turn up any local sites that met the company's criteria including a desire to be located on the western side of the county.

Turkington, a privately owned British company, will relocate to the former C&K building next to Talecris on U.S. 70 West at Clayton. Also, Walthom Group, a Clayton-based company, is building a new 60,000-square-foot facility for Turkington.

There has been no local announcement about the move. However, Johnston County media reported the change in late April.

The company began looking for a new site after APV Heat Transfer Systems decided not to renew Turkington's lease. For more than four years, Turkington has occupied a portion of the 162,000-square-foot APV plant at 1200 W. Ash St.

Turkington officials said it was their understanding that APV wanted to use the space in the future for some of its other companies.

APV Heat Transfer Systems Director of Operations Tim Taylor said he could not comment, but added that he would contact the company's public relations office.

"We have appreciated working with Turkington and wish them well as they relocate to a new facility," Jennifer Epstein, director of corporate communications and public relations for SPX Corp., parent company of APV Heat Transfer Systems, said in an e-mail. "We have no additional comment at this time."

County Manager Lee Smith said he also had heard that APV had future plans for that space, but that he did not know of any specifics.

"We are hoping that is going to be correct," Smith said.

He added the Wayne County Development Alli-ance, county and city of Goldsboro had done everything they could over a six- to nine-month period to keep the company in the county.

"We conducted a search for new premises specific for our needs," said Laura Parrish, executive assistant for Turkington. "We were ably assisted by some excellent work from (Development Alliance President) Joanna Helms and (alliance existing industry specialist) Mike Haney. However, it was not possible for any of us to find an existing available facility within Goldsboro or Wayne County.

"A combination of high project costs and the lack of suitable building sites resulted in us choosing relocation to Clayton, where we will be redeveloping an existing facility."

She said the company wanted to be on the Raleigh side of Wayne County for convenience, such as being closer to Raleigh-Durham International Airport.

Haney said it also appeared that Turkington officials thought a location there would be more attractive to future employees, specifically engineering talent, who might be commuting from the Research Triangle Park area.

Smith said he had heard the same.

"We are going to miss them," he said. "They have been a good corporate partner."

Haney said the county began working with Turkington in February showing a number of sites across the county including locations in Mount Olive. The county was able to come up with a number of potential sites. However, the sites in the western end of the county lacked buildings, he said.

"We hate it, especially with the economy like it is," Haney said. "Unfortunately, we were not able to work it out for them to stay here."

The company, he said, has been a good corporate citizen, paying wages above the county average and employing a "good, highly skilled" workforce.

Ms. Parrish said that most of the company's employees are Goldsboro and/or Wayne County residents and that most are expected to make the job move to Clayton.

"We are encouraging all of them to make the transition with us," she said. "Our business is 'knowledge-based' and we need their support in order to be successful in the future. We hope that the salaries we pay will continue to be spent and invested in Wayne County."

Ms. Parrish thanked the county for its support.

"I believe that the business support services of Goldsboro and Wayne County are some of the best anywhere, which helps the area to 'punch above its weight,''' she said. "We are particularly grateful for the economic support you gave which supported the acquisition of APV Baker. Without it, over 120 jobs would have been lost in 2004."

Turkington USA and its predecessors in name, APV Baker and Baker Perkins, had been in Goldsboro for the past 27 years.

In 1982, Turkington's parent company, Baker Perkins of Peterborough, England, decided to relocate its Saginaw, Mich., bakery machinery division to Goldsboro. A new facility was built on Ash Street and the business got up to speed between 1982 and 1988. At the end of the 1980s, Baker Perkins was acquired by APV North America Inc. and the bakery machinery business was renamed APV Baker. In 2004, APV Baker was sold to the Turkington Industries Group of Burnley, England, and renamed Turkington USA.

In 2004, local officials fearing that someone might buy the Ash Street plant and relocate it decided to offer an incentive package to Turkington.

County commissioners and the Goldsboro City Council agreed to give $150,000 each to Turkington as an incentive. The $300,000 was the local match to a One North Carolina grant.

Haney said the company had met the requirements that had been set forth in the awarding of the incentive including creating and keeping 120 jobs for a three-year period and making a $10.5 million investment.

The return on the investment was the taxes realized from the $10.5 million, Haney said.

The three-year period is a standard length for such incentives, Smith said. It is difficult, he added, to get an industry to commit for up to five years.

Turkington designs, manufactures and installs custom-built, automated equipment for industrial bakery industries, including Pepperidge Farm, Sara Lee and Interstate Bakeries. Equipment includes mixers, proofers, ovens, coolers, automated product handling and packaging systems.