Manufacturing Week: Spotlight on Stoneville, NC’s Industries

With a population of about 1,200 residents, the Town of Stoneville is Rockingham County, NC’s smallest municipality.  Stoneville has been a center of craftsmanship with an economic base that has historically been in furniture and home furnishings –related industries.

Stoneville’s largest manufacturing employer is Southern Finishing, which has about 200 employees.  As a supplier to the furniture industry, Southern Finishing has been operating in Rockingham County since 1978.  The company manufactures furniture and cabinet components, such as prefinished mouldings, accessories, panels, doors, kitchen and bath cabinet components, and bed rails.  It partners with manufacturers such as American Woodmark, Marsh Furniture, Armstrong Cabinets, Quality Cabinets and Thomasville Furniture.  Southern Finishing has its headquarters and four manufacturing facilities in Stoneville.  In 2018, the company announced an expansion that includes investing over $1.48 million in a 126,000 square-foot building in Stoneville and plans to create more than 50 new jobs.

Home grown company, Glass Dynamics was founded in Stoneville in 1985 and became a subsidiary of Poland-based Press Glass in 2017.   Glass Dynamics began exclusively as a glass fabricator for the furniture industry but transitioned into a leading commercial, residential and architectural glass fabricator. The company previously expanded four times in Rockingham County until it was purchased by Press Glass SA.  Press Glass is the largest independent flat glass processing operation in Europe.  The Stoneville location is the company’s second operation in the United States and has about 130 employees.

SANS Technical Fibers LLC (STF)is a manufacturer of specialty yarns for high specification end-uses. It is a global business and holds leading positions in several targeted niche markets.    The company has a state-of-the-art manufacturing facility in Stoneville with about 85 employees where it produces a broad range of specialty nylon and air-jet textured yarns.  Over the years, the company has added capabilities to its Stoneville plant to increase its position in the automotive, military and apparel markets in both industrial and textile applications.  Earlier this year, SANS announced a $4.9 million expansion in machinery and equipment and plans to add 25 new jobs. Sans Technical Fibers, LLC, is a wholly-owned subsidiary of AECI LIMITED, a Johannesburg stock exchange listed chemical company. (AFE – JSE).  

Headquartered in Stoneville, TigerTek Industrial Services was established in 1983.  Today it is one of the largest industrial motor repair centers in the region.   The company, which is now onwed by Omnivest, LLC, repairs electric motors, pumps, gearboxes and servo motors that are critical to the continued operation of their customers, which include local manufacturing plants, municipalities (water and wastewater facilities), universities, food plants (dairies, bakeries), plastic and chemical plants, just to name a few.  TigerTek also operates a large machine shop for fabricating precision parts.

When TigerTek got its start, textile companies made up its core customers. TigerTek went against the odds and adapted when textiles moved overseas and automation began to dominate manufacturing. The company took a risk and invested in the knowledge to repair a new technology called “servo motors,” which are highly specialized motors used in automated manufacturing facilities.  Today, TigerTek is one of the largest servo motor repair shops in the U.S. and has about 40 employees.

In 2016, Sutherland Products (makers of Charlie’s Soap environmentally safe cleaning products) completed a major expansion by adding its second location in Rockingham County in Stoneville.  The company purchased a 120,000 square-foot facility in Stoneville that was part of a former furniture plant.  Sutherland Products invested over one million dollars in the Stoneville location, which now houses its corporate offices and distribution center.  The manufacturing of Charlie’s Soap products remains in Mayodan. The family-run business, which began in 1976, has about 20 employees between both locations.

Manufacturing Week: Spotlight on Reidsville, NC’s Industries

The City of Reidsville may be Rockingham County’s second largest municipality, but it ranks as number one when it comes to our largest manufacturing and industrial base.  With an industrial heritage that was based in the tobacco industry, Reidsville has transitioned to include a widely diverse mix of modern manufacturers and international companies.  In fact, many popular consumer branded products are made in Reidsville, NC.  Here are some brief snapshots of just a few of the companies that are part of Team Reidsville.

With about 400 employees, Reidsville’s largest manufacturing employer is Keystone Foods.  The company processes fresh and frozen poultry for popular consumer brands such as McDonald’s.  Now part of the Tyson Foods family, Keystone Foods is headquartered in Pennsylvania with operations in six countries.  The Reidsville facility, which opened in 1980, is one of approximately 25 manufacturing plants operated by the company. 

Israeli wet-wipes manufacturer, Albaad USA, is well on its way to becoming Reidsville’s largest manufacturing employer.   Albaad has about 200 employees at its wet-wipes manufacturing and packaging facility in the Reidsville Industrial Park.   Last year the company announced a major expansion that includes a second facility to produce feminine hygiene products such as sanitary pads and tampons.  Albaad purchased the former Ball plant and opened its Albaad FEM manufacturing facility earlier this year.  The company plans to eventually create about 300 jobs in the new Albaad FEM plant.  Once it’s at full capacity, Albaad will eventually have 500 employees in Reidsville.  

Albaad was the first tenant in the Reidsville Industrial Park in 2004 and this was the company’s first U.S. production facility.  As a world leader in non-woven textiles, Albaad makes private-label and branded products that are sold in more than 35 countries.  The Reidsville Industrial Park facility makes wet-wipes for a variety of uses, including personal, home and automotive care.  Private label wet-wipes brands made in Reidsville include Burt’s Bees and Parent’s Choice.

Headquartered in Reidsville, Global Textile Alliance manufactures bedding and upholstery fabrics that are sold to several major U.S. furniture brands. Established in 2001, the Reidsville plant is home to the company’s corporate headquarters, distribution, design, sales and marketing, finance and quality control divisions. The company has about 300 employees.

Henniges Automotive is a world-class sealing system solutions provider to the global automotive market with a manufacturing facility in Reidsville. Headquartered in Michigan, Henniges’ Reidsville plant opened in 1994 as Metzeler Automotive.  The company currently employs about 300 people in Reidsville and produces rubber automotive door and window seals at the local plant for automobile brands such as Ford, Chrysler, and BMW.  The Reidsville plant is one of 11 Henniges plants throughout the world.  The company has a total of more than 4,500 associates located across three continents.

Unifi, a world leading producer and processor of multi-filament polyester and nylon textured yarns, remains one of Rockingham County’s largest employers.  In addition to its Nylon manufacturing plant in Madison, Unifi operates a package dye operation and plastic bottle processing center in Reidsville. The dye plant opened in Reidsville in 1970.   In 2016, Unifi expanded at the existing Reidsville facility and opened its REPREVE® Bottle Processing Center.  The more than $28 million investment helped Unifi achieve its goal of vertical integration for its REPREVE® recycled product line, adding flexibility, expanding production capabilities and supporting volume growth. REPREVE is Unifi’s flagship brand of recycled fibers, made from recycled materials such as plastic water bottles.

The REPREVE Bottle Processing Center created more than 80 new jobs in Rockingham County.  It includes more than 150,000 square-feet of space in the existing Reidsville facility for a state-of-the-art recycling center that is one of the most advanced in the United States, with the capacity to produce annually 75 million pounds of the highest quality, consistent, clean bottle flake.  The flake is made from PET plastic bottles that are chopped, washed, dried and bagged for use in the production of REPREVE, or sold to other companies for a variety of consumer packaging applications, such as thermoformed food-grade packaging like cups and takeout containers, as well as non-food applications such as strapping and film.  Earlier this year, the company announced an expansion of its Repreve line with the new Repreve Our Ocean product made from ocean-bound plastic bottles.  REPREVE can be found in products ranging from apparel and hosiery to automotive and industrial applications, and is used by some of the world’s leading brands, including Patagonia, Haggar, Quiksilver and Ford. 

Amcor, a worldwide leader in tobacco packaging, operates a tobacco packaging plant in Reidsville.  Amcor is a global company that is headquartered in Australia and operates over 300 facilities throughout the world.  Amcor’s Reidsville Plant is one of 20 tobacco packaging plants in the world and is located in the Reidsville Industrial Park.   The Reidsville facility opened in 2006, bringing another international company to Rockingham County, and it currently has more than 100 full-time employees. 

Isometrics, Inc. is a manufacturer of aircraft refueling trucks, fuel handling products, and other tank trucks in Reidsville.  It has been manufacturing tanker trucks and fuel hauling equipment in Rockingham County since 1973.   Isometrics is a major contractor for the U.S. government, suppling trucks and equipment to the Department of Defense.  The company has about 100 employees in Rockingham County.

Reidsville is home to two significant plastic recyclers.  Plastic Revolutions has about 75 employees and recycles all form and grades of plastic scrap, specializing in high molecular weight plastics.  It also processes post-consumer plastic bottles from used detergent, milk jugs and other consumer products.  Plastic Revolutions produces around five million pounds of recycled plastic pellets per month.

Envision Plastics also has about 75 employees in Reidsville.  The company is a leading recycler of HDPE plastics and supplier of innovative Post Consumer Resin (PCR) solutions for corporate partners.  It provides resin for plastic electronics packaging, sunglasses, and other non-food items. 

In the last year, Reidsville has been fortunate to attract two new, industrial companies.  Sanritsu Logistics is an international logistics company that is headquartered in Japan.  The company is constructing a new warehouse and logistics operation in the Reidsville Industrial Park.  It will operate a kitting service for manufacturers from the Reidsville location, a service that streamlines the combination of items into packages of finished goods that are then delivered to customers.  Sanritsu plans to open soon and will create more than 20 jobs.

Pella Corporation, a leading manufacturer of window and door products for residential and commercial use, is opening a new manufacturing facility in Reidsville.  The company plans to be operational by the end of year and is creating 125 new jobs.  Pella purchased a former spec building and will manufacture patio doors and vinyl windows in Reidsville.  Founded in Des Moines, Iowa in 1925, Pella is family-owned company currently operating 11 facilities nationwide.

These are snapshots of just a few of Reidsville’s manufacturers and industries.  Other smaller industries and businesses have found Reidsville to be an ideal location for making their products.

Manufacturing Week: Spotlight on Mayodan, NC’s Industries

The Town of Mayodan was built around industry having developed due to the railroad and textile industry.  Mayodan’s manufacturing and industrial base is diverse today but textiles still account for the highest number of jobs.

One of the world’s largest yarn spinners, Frontier Spinning Mills, operates two manufacturing plants in Mayodan and is the town’s largest employer.  The company produces 100% cotton and cotton blend spun yarns for the knitting and weaving industries.  Frontier began operating in Rockingham County in 1992 and continues to flourish here, employing more than 500 people total between its two local plants.

Sturm, Ruger & Company, Inc.’s firearms manufacturing plant opened in Mayodan in 2013 and it was one of this area’s largest economic projects in decades.  Ruger is one of the nation’s leading manufacturers of high-quality firearms for the commercial sporting market, and a major producer of precision steel investment castings.  The company produces hundreds of thousands of firearms each year for hunting, target shooting, collecting, self-defense, law enforcement, and government agencies.  

Ruger’s Mayodan plant is its third manufacturing plant in the United States and is also home to Ruger Sportswear & Accessories.  The company refurbished a former textile manufacturing facility and currently has over 370 employees.  Ruger selected Mayodan and Rockingham County following a competitive site selection process between North Carolina, South Carolina, Texas and Florida.  It ultimately chose Rockingham County because of the available workforce here.

McMichael Mills is another textile company that has been successful in Rockingham County for nearly three decades.  The company was established in 1993 and it has manufacturing, distribution and headquarters operations in Mayodan.  McMichael Mills, which employs nearly 200 people, produces high-quality covered elastic yarns for uses in a variety of products such as the hosiery, narrow fabrics and medical markets.  The company’s innovative solutions, commitment to quality and competitive prices helped McMichael Mills endure through the years.  It is now an international leader in spun-stretch yarns and is the most sought after yarn converter in the business.  McMichael Mills’ two yarn plants produce over 500 different stretch yarns each year, which amounts to more than 20 million pounds of yarn.  The company serves customers worldwide and its yarn is used in more than 50 prominent brands in products such as socks, orthopedic and compression stockings, airline tags, and athletic shoes. 

Bridgestone Aircraft Tire USA moved its retreading operations to Mayodan in 2007 from Miami, Florida.  The company was attracted to the area because of the advantages in having a readily available workforce, proximity to major customers and transportation corridors, and an available manufacturing building.  The Mayodan facility is Bridgestone Aircraft Tire’s headquarters for its North America division, which is part of the global Bridgestone Corporation based in Japan.  With a team of about 100 full-time employees, the company retreads tires for commercial aircraft in its 160,000 square foot facility in Mayodan. 

Mayodan is also home to a plastics company, Blow-Molded Solutions.  The homegrown company, which opened in 2010, has approximately 80 employees.  By 2016, Blow Molded announced a $2.4 million expansion that included a 20,000 square-foot-addition to double its manufacturing facility.  Blow Molded provides large blow molded plastic parts for the recreation, consumer, industrial, and large truck markets. 

Sutherland Products Inc.is a homegrown, family company based in Mayodan that manufactures the Charlie’s Soap brand of cleaning productsFounded by Charlie Sutherland, Jr., the company has been in business for over 40 years and its original Charlie’s Soap industrial cleaner was developed to clean machines in the local textile mills.

When the textile mills moved overseas, the second generation of Sutherlands—Charlie’s sons Taylor, James and Morgan—restructured and grew the business beyond industrial cleaning.  In 2002, Charlie’s sons took over, launched the Laundry Powder, rebranded the company and its products, and modernized operations.  Using the same basic formula, which is all natural, environmentally safe and hypoallergenic, Charlie’s Soap now includes a full line of cleaning products from laundry detergent, all-purpose cleaners, indoor/outdoor cleaner, and more.  Since then, Sutherland Products has enjoyed an average 25% growth year over year and its laundry powder has been a top seller on Amazon.  The company sells products online as well as through thousands of brick and mortar locations in all 50 states and 50 countries. 

In 2016, Sutherland Products completed a major expansion with the purchase of second, 120,000 square-foot facility in Stoneville.  The company invested over one million dollars in the Stoneville location, which houses the corporate offices and distribution center.  The manufacturing remains in Mayodan. It’s still a family-run business with about 20 employees.

Manufacturing Week: Meet Madison, NC’s Top Manufacturers/Industries

Just like most rural, southern towns, Madison, NC’s manufacturing heritage is rooted in tobacco and textiles.  In fact, Madison was home to upwards of 40 tobacco plants in the late 1800s making it the largest tobacco manufacturing center in the world at that time.  Today, the quaint town of about 2,100 residents boasts a diverse mix of large industries, small businesses, and homegrown retail shops and eateries.

Madison’s largest manufacturer and Rockingham County’s largest manufacturing employer is Unifi.  The company’s Madison plant was established in 1970 by two local businessmen as Macfield Texturing Company.   Unifi purchased that company in 1991 and currently has about 500 employees in Madison and 225 at a second plant in Reidsville.  A world leading producer and processor of multi-filament polyester and nylon textured yarns, Unifi’s facility in Madison produces textured and covered yarn used in premier product lines for customers like Ford, The North Face and more.  Totaling 946,586 square-feet, the Madison plant houses Nylon Drawn Textured Yarn, Single, Double and Air Covered product lines. This plant also features an innovative Sock and Hosiery Lab. 

The nation’s largest supplier of brick pavers, Pine Hall Brick, operates two manufacturing facilities in Madison.  The company has been a leading manufacturer of face-brick, pavers and specially shaped brick since 1922.  Headquartered in Winston-Salem, NC, Pine Hall Brick maintains about 160 employees in Madison.  It opened the brick plant in Madison in 1970.  The company expanded in Madison in 1996 when it opened the paver plant.  At that time, the fully-automated, state-of-the-art paver plant was the only plant in the country dedicated entirely to the production of clay pavers.  Pine Hall Brick has since opened a second paver plant in Georgia to meet consumer demand.  Consider using Pine Hall Brick pavers in your next backyard project.

Remington Arms Company, LLC moved its corporate headquarters to the Madison area in 1996.  America’s oldest gun maker, Remington designs, produces and sells sporting goods products for the hunting and shooting sports markets, as well as military, government and law enforcement markets. While Remington does not manufacture any products in Madison, its corporate office provides about 150 jobs in the community making it a major employer.   

Synergy Electronics Recycling is a cutting-edge electronics recycling firm located in Madison.   With approximately 80 employees, the company provides shredding and mechanical separating of used electronic equipment into commodity grade components. Synergy opened in Madison in 2000 and also provides other services such as demanufacturingasset recoverycertified data destruction of sensitive media, and transportation services for the materials it handles.   The company works with various industries such as healthcare, finance, education and manufacturing as well as county and municipal collection programs.

Located in downtown Madison, Gem-Dandy is a wholesale distributor of belts and accessories servicing retailers across the globe.  The Penn Family started Gem-Dandy in 1921 as a successor to the Penn Suspender Company. Green Penn, the first company president, invented and patented the GEMCO Adjustable Garter – the world’s first fully adjustable garter for men, women and children.

Gem-Dandy entered the belt business during World War II. The Danbury name was registered as a brand name in the 1970’s and sales expanded across the country into thousands of men’s specialty shops. Today, Gem-Dandy employs more than 40 people in Madison and distributes a wide variety of belts, wallets, suspenders and other accessories in dress, casual, work wear and western styles. The company is the licensor of several popular brands such as PGA Tour®, John Deere®, Roper®, Officially Licensed Collegiate Products®, Mossy Oak®, REALTREE® and Colours by Alexander Julian®. Gem Dandy also has its proprietary brands including Danbury Golf, Danbury Workwear, Lady Danbury, G-Bar-D Western Outfitters and Cowgirls Rock. The company’s products can be found in major department stores as well as smaller venues.  Look for these licensed products in retail stores to support Gem Dandy.

It’s no secret that bootleggers once ran the backroads of this area, but today, two legal distilleries have found a home for manufacturing their spirits in Madison.  When it opened in Madison in 2005, Piedmont Distillers Inc.became NC’s first legal distillery since prohibition.  It has spent the last decade innovating a family of spirits that includes Catdaddy Spiced Moonshine, Junior Johnson’s Midnight Moonshine and Method and Standard vodka. The company currently has about 20 employees in Madison.

Catdaddy Spiced Moonshine is a spicy yet sweet old-fashioned spirit blended in a small batch process.  Piedmont’s line of NASCAR legend Junior Johnson’s (a.k.a. “the midnight runner”) brand of ‘shine is available in original recipe, 100 proof and in seven, handcrafted, real fruit infusions.  The Midnight Moon brand also includes an American whiskey.  Method + Standard is an NC distilled vodka that is available in original, strawberry, apple spice and raspberry flavors.   The company’s spirits can be found in ABC stores throughout the United States and is sold worldwide.

Midnight Moon Family

Also in Madison, Italian-themed GIA Distillery produces its handcrafted solera style American whiskey and grappa in the old train depot (circa 1895) that houses its distillery and tasting room.  GIA is a small boutique distillery and one of the owners grew up in Sicily while the other hails from Asheville, NC.  Both have been making wine and beer for at least 40 years and have parlayed that experience now into distilling where they’re able to add that hand-crafted touch.  GIA currently makes FJW Solera Style American Whiskey crafted using a technique that originates in Spain, consisting of stacking barrels and only drawing a portion from the bottom barrels for bottling.  This is a fairly new technique for aging in the U.S. and because of the labor involved, is not seen by the larger producers.

GIA also makes a grappa (an Italian style brandy) called Francesca, named after the wife of one of the owners.  The grappa is made the old fashioned Italian way that utilizes the entire grape for production.  The grappa is then rested in French Oak, which combined with the juice of the grape, provides a smoothness not found in most Italian grappas.  Visit their website for information about tastings and tours: www.giadistillery.com

Manufacturing Week: Meet Eden, NC’s Top Manufacturers/Industries

Friday, October 4th is “Manufacturing Day” across the U.S. and in Rockingham County.  To celebrate, we will be highlighting some of the major manufacturers/industries in each of our municipalities each day this week.  Today, we start with the City of Eden, North Carolina.

With more than 500 employees, Eden’s largest industrial employer is Gildan.  With global headquarters in Montreal, Canada, The company is the leading supplier of activewear for the screenprint market in the U.S. and Canada.  It has been operating a wholesale distribution facility in Eden since 2000.  The distribution center, located on Meadow Road in Eden, is primarily dedicated to servicing the screen print channel in the United States. The company has expanded four times since opening, and it now encompasses 1.2 million square feet at the Meadow Road facility, plus an additional 900,000 square feet at two satellite locations in Eden. The products distributed from the Eden facility include tee shirts, sport shirts and fleece that are sold in large quantities to wholesale distributors as undecorated “blanks”, which are subsequently decorated by screen printers with designs and logos.   Consumers can support Gildan by looking for the company’s label when purchasing tee shirts and fleece.

Did you know body armor worn by some of our U.S. military personnel is made in Eden?  KDH Defense Systems is a leading manufacturer of American-made, high-performance protective solutions.  Founded in 2003, KDH began with a mission to provide law enforcement, federal agencies, and the United States Department of Homeland Security with the highest quality American-made body armor available in today’s continually evolving protective apparel market.  With around 150 employees, KDH’s Eden facility includes armor cutting, sewing, and ballistic design, as well as product development, sales, and administration. The company chose to locate its production and headquarters in Rockingham County because of the available manufacturing space in a vacant building and access to skilled textile workers due to the region’s rich history in the textile industry.

Eden’s oldest manufacturer is Karastan, a division of Mohawk Industries.  The company has been operating its rug/carpet manufacturing plant here since 1928.  Karastan’s story as an innovator dates back to the 1920s when its “wonder rug” first amazed visitors at two World’s Fairs.  While the company is phasing out production of its iconic machine-made oriental rugs at the Eden plant, it still remains a vital industry to Rockingham County with around 200 full-time employees.  Now a division of Mohawk Industries, Karastan has continued as an innovator, implementing new technology to refine its manufacturing process and investing in equipment in the Eden plant to manufacture high-end commercial, aviation and residential carpet.  To support Karastan, consider purchasing the company’s carpet for your home or office.

AC Furniture has approximately 200 employees in Eden and is one of the country’s largest contract manufacturers of seating for the hospitality, healthcare and food service industry.  Headquartered in Axton, Virginia, the company opened its Eden facility since 1979 where it makes wood and upholstered seating for commercial use such as in restaurants, hotels and medical offices.

Loparex is a leading, global manufacturer of polycoated and silicone-coated papers and films that are used in a wide variety of adhesive applications.  It has had a manufacturing plant on Fieldcrest Road in Eden since 1995 and employs around 120 people.  Often known as the slick paper that is thrown away on numerous adhesives, Loparex’s extensive product line has been designed to meet the varying needs in the medical, hygiene, graphic arts, label and tapes industries and in other special industries and applications.  The company’s products are critical components of many medical supplies and devices, including backings for heart-monitor electrode pads and transdermal patches that deliver medicine through the skin. Loparex products and processes also are used in the automotive industry; for turbine propellers that generate wind power; and precise die-cutting used in mobile phones and digital cameras.  So the next time you peel the backing off of a Band-Aid or double-sided tape, remember that paper you throw away was probably made in Eden, NC.

Weil-McLain, a leading manufacturer of hydronic comfort heating systems for residential, commercial and institutional use, located a manufacturing and distribution plant in Eden in 2005. Weil-McLain’s hydronic boilers are installed in homes, offices, schools, restaurants, hotels and other facilities throughout North America.  Headquartered in Michigan City, IN, the company has more than 150 employees in Eden and its local facility also serves as a showroom and training facility for contractors and distributors.

Rockingham County, NC Celebrates Manufacturing Day 2019

At its September meeting last week, the Rockingham County Board of Commissioners issued a proclamation declaring next Friday, October 4, 2019, as “Manufacturing Day in Rockingham County.”  The proclamation was issued in celebration and recognition of the upcoming national Manufacturing Day (MFG Day).

Manufacturing Day is an annual, national event held the first Friday in October to highlight modern manufacturing—a vibrant and growing industry that offers diverse, high-paying career opportunities.  Held in communities across the country, MFG Day is supported by thousands of manufacturers as they host students, teachers, parents, job seekers and other local community members at open houses, plant tours and presentations designed to change perceptions of manufacturing and highlight the high-tech and innovative companies that are solving tomorrow’s challenges today.

“MFG Day is designed to showcase what modern manufacturing is all about.  With manufacturing jobs accounting for more than 20% of our local workforce, it remains a vital industry to Rockingham County,” said Leigh Cockram, director of the Rockingham County Center for Economic Development, Small Business and Tourism.  “We are proud of the manufacturers operating here and the innovative work they do.”

About Manufacturing Day
First held in 2012 by its founder, the Fabricators & Manufacturers Association, International, MFG Day is now organized by The Manufacturing Institute—the education and workforce partner of the National Association of Manufacturers. The kick-off events around the country and month-long initiative gives manufacturers the opportunity to address the skills gaps they face, connect with future generations, take charge of the public image of manufacturing and ensure the ongoing prosperity of the industry as a whole. Learn more about MFG Day and the significant impact this event has across the nation at www.mfgday.com.

ROCKINGHAM COUNTY BOARD OF COMMISSIONERS

PROCLAMATION DECLARING OCTOBER 4, 2019
“NATIONAL MANUFACTURING DAY” IN ROCKINGHAM COUNTY
 
WHEREAS, Recognizing October 4, 2019 as National Manufactur ing Day,  a celebration of modern manufacturing meant to inspire the next
generation of manufacturers; and
 
WHEREAS, The Reset Rockingham Partners, Rockingh am County
Manufacturers Association, Rockingham Community College,
Rockingham County Public Schools, Rock-A-Top Apprenticeship Program
and the Rockingham County Center for Economic Development, supportmanufacturing and manufacturing careers;
 
WHEREAS , Manufacturing is a cornerstone of our economy with more
than 100 manufacturing companies located in Rockingham County,
representing 20% of the workforce, providing leading-edge
manufacturing jobs for employees and contributing to broad-based
prosperity; and
 
WHEREAS, Rockingham Community College works with local industries
to maximize success through quality workforce training; and
 
WHEREAS, one of the keys to America’s greatness is its ability to make
things, to devise and develop new products from the ingenuity and skill
of manufacturers.
 
NOW, THEREFORE, BE IT RESOLVED, that the Rockingham County
Board of Commissioners does hereby proclaim October 4, 2019 as
“National Manufacturing Day” in Rockingham County in recognition and appreciation to the many manufacturing companies of our community.

This the 16th Day of September 2019.

Small Business Spotlight: Southern Julep Boutique in Eden, NC

Southern Julep is one of the newest retail boutiques located in Eden’s downtown “Leaksville” district.   Operated by the father-daughter duo, Phil and Julie Stanton, Southern Julep specializes in local and American made products, bringing the latest trends in boutique fashions, accessories, southern tee-shirts, home décor, gifts, and more.

A look inside Southern Julep Boutique’s new location at 711 Washington Street in Eden, NC.

As a young teenager, Julie gained retail experience working in local shops and from her high school senior project.  For her senior project, she and her father launched Etcetera 7 in 2015 as an online boutique and retailer at local events and festivals. 

“I loved retail and knew very early on that I wanted to be a store owner one day,” said Julie.

What began as a project, turned into a passion for both Julie and Phil.

“We wanted to use our talents in retail and fashion and felt a calling to do something even bigger than our little pop-up shops,” Julie added.

In May 2019, the father-daughter duo took a huge leap of faith and signed the lease to open up their own storefront at 711 Washington Street in Eden.  And on July 1, their little boutique opened with a new name, Southern Julep, which is a combination of their names:  Julie + Phillip.

“We are super excited to be a part of Eden and it’s a great time to be downtown.  There is a lot of stuff taking off here and we have received tremendous help and support from the other merchants,” said Julie.

Stop by Southern Julep at 711 Washington Street in Eden.  The shop is open Monday to Friday from 11 a.m. to 6 p.m. and on Saturdays from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m.  The online store is open 24/7 at www.etcetera7.com/.

Be sure to check their Facebook page for more information and updates.

I-785 Already Yielding Dividends for Reidsville & Rockingham County, NC

Economic development leaders in Reidsville want companies to know the Rockingham County city is open for business. And by the end of the next decade, it’s going to be a lot easier to get there.

The Reidsville Chamber of Commerce on Friday hosted a panel discussion of state and local elected and transportation officials to update business leaders on the status of the $206 million upgrade of U.S. 29 to Interstate 785 between I-840 in northeast Greensboro and U.S. 158 in Reidsville. With multiple bridge and interchange upgrades along the route scheduled to begin as early as 2020, the entire project is scheduled for completion in 2029.

Panelists included state and city leaders.

“Often companies will hire consultants to send requests for information, and I can’t tell how many times I’ve seen if your community is not within 5 or 10 miles of an interstate, you’re not even on the map int their mind,” Reidsville’s Economic Development Director Jeff Garstka an the audience of about 100 at Pennrose Park Country Club.

“As good as U.S. 29 seems, you can jump up and down and scream all you want, but if it doesn’t have the blue shield, you’re not included. This is going to put us in a whole other category in search criteria.”

Other panel members included N.C. Sen. Phil Berger (R-Rockingham County) of Eden; N.C. Board of Transportation Chairman Mike Fox of Greensboro; NCDOT Division 7 Engineer Mike Mills; and Reidsville City Councilman James Festerman.

The I-785 project will provide central Rockingham County with direct interstate access to the Triad, the Research Triangle, the Charlotte metro area and beyond. That, combined with plentiful land, a ready utility infrastructure and 30-minute access to Piedmont Triad International Airport, will make Reidsville an attractive market for industrial growth, the panelists said.

“In today’s economy, the ability to move people and product is extremely important, as are the travel times from one place to another,” said Berger. “This upgrade is very important.”

The project is called an “upgrade” because it will convert the already four-lane U.S. 29 into an interstate highway. Long-range plans are for the project to extend to the Virginia line, but no funding for that phase is identified on the state’s 10-year transportation plan.

Merely the promise of I-785 from Reidsville to Greensboro has already netted results. Love’s Travel Stop opened less than a year ago on Barnes Street at U.S. 29, where a bridge replacement and interchange are scheduled for construction in 2022.

“They saw the future of projects like I-785 coming and the kind of growth that will it will create on the corridor,” Garstka told Triad Business Journal. “The opportunity for them to be on a major interchange along that corridor absolutely encouraged them to pick that spot.”

As did recent economic development coups such as Japan-based Sanritsu Logistics, which invested $9 million in Reidsville – in part because of the promise of being within 30 minutes of a key client in High Point.

Additionally, Pella Corp. is building out a $20 million vinyl window manufacturing operation expected to create 124 jobs there.

As development nearly always follows new highways in populated markets, the panelists predicted more will come to the I-785 corridor.

“Folks who are looking to locate their will look at this and see you have an interstate there, and that will make it easier to pull employees from the region,” said Fox. “Reidsville is already well connected to the Triad, but this will improve it.”

New Interstates Fuel Resurgence in Rockingham County, North Carolina

There’s a lot of momentum in Rockingham County right now for growth in residential, industrial and small business/commercial development. Much of this momentum is concentrated near two of our key infrastructure assets: future Interstates I-785 in Reidsville and I-73 in western Rockingham.

Here’s a brief story that highlights some of the activity taking place in the Madison area. We’re excited to see this type of growth happening in all areas of Rockingham County and look forward to sharing more stories like this.

From Fox 8 News

MADISON, N.C. — Five years ago, the people of Rockingham County watched helplessly as 39,000 tons of coal ash spilled into the Dan River from the Duke Energy plant in Eden.

Less than 20 miles southwest, the people of Madison were introduced to a future which now looked unsettled, with the spill rivaling the town’s well-known clocktower as its claim to fame.

“What does that mean for our town?” resident Bobbie Webster, who co-owns M&M Pawn Shop alongside her 29-year-old son, recalls asking. “Are we just gonna be a slush town where nobody wants to come anymore?”

But five years later, Madison residents say what’s to come for the town is as clear as ever.

“I think there’s been a resurgence here lately of a lot of young people that have taken over businesses,” Webster said.

Daniel Joyce was born and raised in Madison but moved away because we thought “there was nothing to do.” When he came back, he found himself saying the same thing. But, this time, he realized he could change that.

“I left the job I had taken when I moved back here and put all my eggs into one basket with this coffee shop idea,” he said.

Joyce opened The Mad Bean, which is now in its second location on East Murphy Street. The Mad Bean started with drinks, but as the community support behind it became evident, Joyce expanded the experimentation.

“You’re not gonna show up and not be welcomed like you would in your house,” he said.

Today, the establishment offers food and recently opened an upstairs, where they have adult beverages and a space for on-stage performances.

“There are a lot of people from Florida, or Seattle, or neighboring states, that patronize our place because it reminds them of where they came from,” he said.

Next door to The Mad Bean, there’s another idea brewing.

“It was a hobby, brewed on the back porch with a bunch of friends, and did it for a while, and we started making pretty good beer,” said David Peters, owner of Hell on Horsecreek Brewing.

With fractal burning accents abound, Peters is creating a brewhouse complete with a bar as he moves closer to an opening date.

“I’ll be back there making beer, I’ll have somebody up here serving beer and folks like you will be sitting here drinking my beer,” he demonstrated.

Although Madison jumped out at Peters as a place to house his creations, he says he wouldn’t be there if it wasn’t for one critical artery.

“If it wasn’t for 73 and the highway we wouldn’t have moved up here to start with,” he detailed.

Peters is referring to future Interstate 73, currently U.S. 220, which passes through Madison. Where it used to take people about an hour to get to Madison from Greensboro, they can now make the trip in half the time.

“It’s a great feeder for this town,” he said.

“If they’re coming north then they tend to stop through here which is really good,” Joyce echoed.

With other businesses in their planning stages and young entrepreneurs setting up shops in town, Madison is a microcosm of the economic resurgence happening in Rockingham County.

“We love it. These are young people that’s gonna take over,” Webster said. “They’re gonna take the reigns and go forward.”

According to Visit Rockingham County NC, “domestic visitors to and within Rockingham County spent a record $75.28 million in the county in 2018,” an increase of 5.13% from 2017.

“If you just wanna come and do anything, we got it,” Webster added. “Just come on out.”


Signing Day for 15 New Apprentices Means a Degree & a Paycheck While in High School

Six local companies have 15 new workers on the floor, after a RockATOP signing ceremony at Rockingham Community College on Tuesday evening, Aug. 13.

Through Rockingham Apprenticeship & Technical Opportunities Partnership, more commonly known as RockATOP, the manufacturers, Rockingham County Schools, and RCC in February invited high school students to show off their skills and determination. Each company then chose summer pre-apprentices. And last week, the students, some of whom are high school graduates now, officially signed on to continue as apprentices.

Rock-ATOP Apprenticeship Program signs 15 new students who will gain hands-on job skills while earning a degree and a paycheck.

RockATOP enables these students to begin a career during high school and bring home a paycheck for time at school and work – approximately 8,000 hours during the four-year program. Eventually, the apprenticeships will graduate from RCC with an Applied Science degree, already with certifications and credentials in hand.

Students from Dalton McMichael, Morehead, Rockingham County and Reidsville high schools, and Community Baptist Schools, committed to the following companies:

ABCO Automation

  • Cheyenne Burnette (RCHS senior)
  • Joseph Ryan (CBS graduate)

Bridgestone Aircraft Tire

  • Ian Bartlett (RCHS senior)
  • John Bray (DMHS senior)

Machine Specialties Inc. 

  • Brantley “Gage” Butler (RCHS graduate)
  • James Flint (MHS senior)
  • Fredrick “Colby” Harris (MHS senior)
  • Christopher Paschal (RCHS senior)
  • Devon “Blake” Strader (RCHS senior)

Pine Hall Brick

  • Braxton French (MHS senior)

Sturm, Ruger & Co.

  • Destiny Bowman (MHS graduate)
  • Tyler Frazier (MHS graduate)

Wieland Copper Products

  • Cole Hopkins (DMHS graduate)
  • Rishard Jumper (MHS graduate)
  • Tatyanna Wimple (RHS senior)

RockATOP is a partnership of Rockingham County Schools, RCC, “and most importantly, the industry community that is supportive of this because we cannot do this without (them),” said RCC President Dr. Mark Kinlaw.

Turning to the apprentices, he said, “You are embarking on a journey that is leading toward really good things. To our business partners, I can’t thank you enough for working with them, and hopefully you will see the fruits of this… with employees later on down the road.” He thanked parents for supporting the RockATOP initiative.

“I think this is going to make a major difference in employment in our county,” Kinlaw said. “We want our business partners to be successful so they can expand and stay here, and it’s a good initiative to have out there as we try to attract other industries to Rockingham County.”

Rockingham County Commissioner Mark Richardson introduced keynote speaker Leigh Cockram, director of the county’s Economic Development, Small Business and Tourism, whom he noted is a successful entrepreneur. He said the decision to join RockATOP speaks volumes about the character and decision-making ability of the students.

“Did you know there are roughly 1,000 jobs available in Rockingham County right now? Our problem is having enough qualified people,” Richardson said. “We in Rockingham County are selfish. We want to keep our best and brightest close … and this program goes a long way towards doing that.”

Cockram praised the students for taking advantage of the great RockATOP opportunity to gain real-world experience while earning a paycheck and a degree. She said most of the time when she works with industry, two themes pop up: not being able to get employees to come to work on time (if at all), and finding people who have the necessary experience or skills.

She commended the apprentices for learning at such a young age to value work-related skills like timeliness, teamwork, and to understand manufacturing processes.

Dr. Kenneth Scott, Rockingham County Schools Career and Technical Education director, invited representatives from each company to the stage to accept awards for being involved in RockATOP.

Jennifer Lester, RCC CTE director and apprenticeship coordinator extended gratitude for everyone’s support of the program.

“For many, this signing ceremony is a celebration of choice, both on behalf of the student who is making an amazing choice to really expand your future, both with on-the-job training by wonderful mentors, and with academic training by highly talented faculty – all with zero debt, and nationally recognized credentials,” she said. “But also, on behalf of our partner companies, who are making a choice to build up their workforce in a manner that also builds up our young people and our community, we thank you for your investment in our future.”

Lester and RockATOP Chair Nancy Tulloch-Moore of Pine Hall Brick, surprised Lydia Craddock, RCS career counselor with an award for her extensive involvement in RockATOP.

Among comments offered by apprentices via a slide show, Colby Harris said he was most excited about running machines at MSI; Braxton French thought it was cool to learn about how Pine Hall Brick fires its bricks in kilns; Destiny Bowman said she chose Ruger because she loves hands-on work, and she was able to work with someone on a machine on her second day; and John Bray said he didn’t know what he wanted to do after high school, but after working at Bridgestone Aircraft, he looks forward to becoming an engineer.

Among comments made by company representatives about their apprentices, Bridgestone Aircraft Tire CEO Andrea Schmitz Davis said Ian Bartlett is intelligent, ambitious, is able to grasp concepts quickly, and suggested ways to improve some processes – and she and her employees are excited to have him as a teammate. She said John Bray is hardworking, very reliable.

“He would show up every day early, excited to work… he is quick learning and has a high level of understanding, and was able to operate independently after a short demonstration,” she said. “He’s been very friendly and outgoing. So John, just like you texted your mom on day 1, ‘I love this place,’ the feeling’s mutual. We love you too.”