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New call center opens in Spring Hope

BY WILLIAM F. WEST Staff Writer - Rocky Mount Telegram Tuesday, February 12, 2019 SPRING HOPE — A Raleigh-based call center company is now operating a facility in a former textile plant on the south side of Spring Hope and is anticipating employing more than 270 people in the future. The company, Millennia, had been looking at possibly locating a call center either in Wake County or Georgia before selecting the site of the former Devil Dog Manufacturing Co. in the 600 block of South Oak Street. Millennia has signed a five-year lease with Raleigh businessman Scott McLaughlin, who’s the landlord. Millennia has been in business since 2012. The company works to support hospitals, physician offices and urgent care facilities coast to coast in the education of and engagement with their patients about financial responsibilities. The company since late last year had been operating a call center at the former PNC Bank location in downtown Spring Hope, with the number of employees growi ...

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Site Prep Work Nearing Completion for Triangle Tire Plant: Hurricane Florence Did Not Flood the Site

For Immediate Release FRANKLIN, TN (Sept. 19, 2018) – A green field in North Carolina’s Edgecombe County has been transformed in preparation for construction of a massive Triangle Tire plant which will ultimately produce six million passenger/light truck tires and one million commercial truck tires annually. Aerial video at Triangle Tire plant site in NC ( showing heavy equipment at work on the site shows the progress that has been made since the December announcement and the sheer size of the site which totals 1,449 acres. Company officials are pleased that the land on which the factory is to be built is free of water following the deluge from Hurricane Florence. The drainage worked perfectly and holding ponds did not overflow.  The company announced that funding has been secured and the first phase, a passenger/light truck tire manufacturing facility, is expected to be completed by April 2020. The second phase will be a commercial truck tire fac ...

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Female Brewers to move into the Rocky Mount Mills

BY COREY DAVIS Staff Writer Monday, August 27, 2018 A couple of craft brewers are bringing a female touch and diverse presence to the Rocky Mount Mills. Briana Brake, founder of Spaceway Brewery, and Celeste Beatty, founder of Harlem Brewing, have formed a collaboration to establish Rocky Mount Brewery that will occupy nearly 9,000 square feet of space at the Rocky Mount Mills Brewery Incubator. The brewery is slated to begin operations by October with the first beers being limited-release beers. “We are ecstatic to have Rocky Mount Brewery join our incubator at Rocky Mount Mills,” said Evan Covington Chavez, real estate development manager for the Rocky Mount Mills. “Their focus on highlighting all that Rocky Mount is via beer is just the kind of unique touch that makes this place so special.” The women met each other in the fall of 2016 during a business panel event at Shaw University. That weekend, Brake invited Beatty to her home to help brew a batch and the relationship ...

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Quality Workers, Strong Management and Supportive Community Make Berry Global Hum

By Lawrence Bivins   A plastics process technician with Berry Global in Battleboro, Tony DeRose has a career in plastics production that stretches 25 years. He has been a Berry Team Member for the past four of those years, working in injection blow molding. The work is intricate, challenging and rewarding all at the same time, DeRose says. The keys to success, he explains, all fit neatly within the company’s core behaviors: United, Focused, Accountable and Agile – or “UFAA,” standards that take the company and its Battleboro facility where it needs to be.   Working with plastics can also be dangerous, which places a premium on safety practices.  When Berry Global took over the 104,000-sq.-ft. facility in 2014, the plant had a mediocre safety record. By emphasizing training and workplace safety, the facility now has an exemplary record. “We’ve come a long way in four years,” says DeRose. This past May, the North Carolina Department of Labor presente ...

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U.S. Unit of Global Agricultural Equipment Leader Calls Twin Counties Home

By Lawrence Bivins   Mike Blount rattles off a list of reasons why the shiny blue farm vehicles assembled and sold by LS Tractor USA offer better value than the competition. “Features that are standard in our products are things our competitors charge extra for,” says Blount, chief executive officer at the company, which is headquartered in Battleboro. “And our warrantees are better than the industry average.”   The company’s tractors come in all sizes, with sub-compact models built for relatively modest tasks like mowing and snow removal, and heavy-duty models designed to serve cattle ranches, orchards and vineyards. Common to all is an attractive price-tag. “We get good pricing from our parent company, and we keep a pretty flat organization,” Blount explains. The savings are passed along to customers, who range from “weekend farmers” who dabble in agriculture as a hobby to full-time agribusiness professionals. LS Tractors’ distributio ...

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Community Colleges Bind Together to Address Workforce Paradox: Filling Skills Gaps Calls for Regional Outreach to Current and Future Job-Seekers

By Lawrence Bivins   Wilson County’s 6.5 percent unemployment rate is significantly higher than that of either the state (4.3 percent) or the nation (4.1 percent), according to the most recent data from the North Carolina Department of Commerce. Still, local employers can have a hard time finding qualified applicants for job vacancies -- even as educators at Wilson Community College stand ready with a host of affordable training programs designed with input from company managers.   “It’s a curious problem,” says Tim Wright, president of Wilson Community College. “In this part of the state we have economic challenges with unemployment while companies can’t fill open positions.” As one of North Carolina’s 58 community colleges, Wilson offers courses that can equip students for a variety of technical careers in as little as a year or, in some cases, even less. “It sounds simple, but it isn’t,” says Wright, who has worked in community ...

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By Lawrence Bivins Can Nash County be a global mecca for vegan foods?   In fact, it’s well on its way. Since 2008, Atlantic Natural Foods (ANF) has quietly tested and produced a wide variety of shelf-stable, plant-based vegetarian foods and beverages from its 53,000-sq.-ft. base of operations at Nashville Industrial Center. The company also maintains a distribution facility in Rocky Mount. And more growth is on the horizon.   “We may be the best-kept secret in food development,” says Doug Hines, chief executive officer of AFT Holdings, Atlantic Natural Foods’ parent company. “We want to make Nashville, North Carolina a leading center for plant-based protein food creation for the future.”   Hines points to surveys that anticipate fast growth for companies like ANF. Some 45 percent of Americans believe they should eat less meat, for example. Thirty-five percent report eating less meat than they did a year ago. About 20 percent of today’s colleg ...

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IN THE EAST: Food Processing is Heating Up Around Rocky Mount

By Electricities Developments, Q3 Newsletter The agency notes several factors that contribute to this clustering, including the excellent highway system, business-friendly tax rates, and attractive incentives from state and local governments and from the Golden Leaf Foundation. But the reasons most often cited? The area’s convenient central East Coast location and its motivated and talented workforce. For Belgium-based Poppies International, those factors, as well as reliable electric service, have helped drive the company’s success in its U.S. headquarters in Rocky Mount for the past 17 years. Poppies International ships its frozen cream puffs and mini éclairs to buyers across the United States, Canada, and Asia. Its location in Rocky Mount’s Whitaker Business & Industry Center means easy access to Interstate 95 and U.S. Highway 64, as well as proximity to the Port of Norfolk. With Poppies’ automated production systems, refrigeration requirements, and round-the-clock ope ...

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For ACME United, a ‘can-do’ spirit led to Rocky Mount

By Lawrence Bivins   As the seasoned CEO of a publicly-held company, Walter Johnsen is adept at overcoming technical obstacles that stand between his business and its expansion strategy. In 2013, as he and ACME United Corporation sized up a vacant Rocky Mount furniture warehouse, the supportive nature of local and state leaders quickly became evident. “It was an abandoned building surrounded by grass about two-feet high,” recalls Johnsen, chairman and CEO of the Connecticut-based company.   Getting the grass cut at the 33-acre site wasn’t a problem, and the company – after considering rival locations in other states, as well as China – soon closed on the property for $2.8 million and began investing another half million dollars in its up-fit. When a prominent city official realized the 340,000-sq.-ft. building lacked an adequate sewer line, he offered to have one put in. “Mayor [David] Combs did that in a heartbeat,” Johnsen says. “He said he woul ...

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Meet the craft brewers making a go of it in Rocky Mount

By Russ Lay on July 8, 2018 Inspired by our recent trips across North Carolina, we are launching a recurring series sampling the beer, wine and spirits being made and sold in all corners of The Old North State as the industry fills the gaps left with the departure of manufacturing and textile companies in many towns and cities. In one part of Rocky Mount, a business incubator is focusing on one of America’s fastest growing economic sectors — craft beer. The second installment of our profile of Rocky Mount offers an introduction to the initial tenants of Rocky Mount Mills, a commercial center converted from a 200-year-old cotton mill as a business incubator. Planetary Elixirs Scott Meyer If you’re a fan of Outer Banks craft beers, then you already know Scott Meyer, who came to the Outer Banks with Aubrey Davis, Eric Reese and Tina Mackenzie to start the Outer Banks Brewing Station. Meyer was brought here as the brewmaster but has the most unusual backgroun ...

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