Nestlé Purina PetCare Plans to Open New Factory in North Carolina to Meet Growing Pet Food Demand

Planned $450 million investment to support long-term growth for trusted pet care brands, create jobs

ST. LOUIS, September 30, 2020 – Today, Nestlé Purina PetCare announced an estimated $450 million investment to open a new factory in Eden, North Carolina, to meet increasing demand for its high-quality, nutritious pet foods. 

This expansion is part of a broader growth plan for Purina that began last year with the grand opening of the company’s newest wet pet food factory and distribution center in Hartwell, Georgia. The new Eden factory will join Purina’s network of 21 existing manufacturing locations across the U.S. and will become operational in 2022.

Nina Leigh Kruger, President, Nestle Purina

“Eden is Purina’s first manufacturing operation in North Carolina, and through this expansion we build on our more than 90-year history of making science-based dog and cat foods that pet owners trust,” said Nina Leigh Krueger, President, Nestlé Purina U.S. “Despite the challenging times we have all been living in, Purina has remained resilient. This strategic and long-term investment demonstrates our commitment to providing high-quality nutrition for pets. We’re thankful for the great partnership at the state and local levels, and we are excited to be a part of this community now and for many years to come.” 

Anthony (Tony) Copeland, NC Secretary of Commerce

“North Carolina’s manufacturing workforce is strong, and this announcement is an important new phase in Nestlé Purina’s growth,” said Governor Cooper. “This company’s global reputation for quality products, innovation, sustainability, and corporate citizenship fits well with our state’s workforce, economy, and the business community.”

Located along the Virginia border, the new factory in Eden, North Carolina will revitalize a former brewery, transforming it into an innovative, technically advanced pet food manufacturing facility. Preliminary plans call for Purina to invest $450 million to renovate the existing structure in Rockingham County and produce leading dry dog and cat food brands, including Purina Pro Plan, Purina ONE, and Purina Pro Plan Veterinary Diets.  

“At Purina, we are passionate about supporting the communities where we live and work and we look forward to bringing that passion to Rockingham County,” said Nolan Terry, Vice President, Manufacturing, Purina. “The property is in good working condition and we have an incredible opportunity to transform this into a world-class pet food facility. We also see great potential to work with a highly skilled workforce in the region and provide a chance to start a new chapter of their career at Purina. Great people and a great location is a win-win.”  

The factory will reside on 1,300-plus acres near the border of North Carolina and Virginia and be approximately 1.3 million square feet in size. Purina plans to employ more than 300 people at its new factory location by 2024 while also increasing its use of third party employment and local and regional economic development. Many of the jobs at Purina’s new factory will include professional staff, production operators, technical staff and engineers. 

While investing in its operations, Purina is committed to making pet care products in an environmentally responsible manner, as the company aspires to in all of its 21 U.S. factories. Purina’s new operations will be designed with sustainability at the forefront, including a commitment to send zero waste for disposal, and production processes designed to recover and reuse heat and water. Purina is also striving to make the facility 100 percent powered by renewable electricity in the shortest practical timeframe, while supporting the company’s ambition for zero environmental impact in company operations by 2030.  

Nestle Purina Site Rendering

Purina conducted a national search for its newest factory location and explored multiple potential sites in North Carolina and other states as part of this project. After a detailed analysis, the proposal from Rockingham County, the City of Eden and North Carolina state officials provides Purina the ability to serve pet owners and retain and attract top talent over the long term.  

“We are ecstatic Nestlé Purina has chosen Eden and Rockingham County as their new manufacturing home,” said Mark Richardson, Chair, Rockingham County Board of Commissioners. “The news of their expansion into this property brings so much light and revitalization to our community. We are anxious to watch this site come back to life with new employees as well as tax base, but more importantly excited to see it occupied by such a well-known and respected company.”   

To view and apply for positions at Purina’s new factory, please visit purinajobs.com/Eden. To receive alerts and updates on new available positions, visit purinajobs.com/NC.

Key Facts for Nestlé Purina: 

Total investment in this facility: an estimated $450 million 

Total investment across the U.S. in the last 5 years: $1.5 billion 

Total square footage of Eden facility: 1.3 million 

Expected number of employees: more than 300 by 2024 

About Nestlé Purina PetCare  

Nestlé Purina PetCare creates richer lives for pets and the people who love them. Founded in 1894, Purina has helped dogs and cats live longer, healthier lives by offering scientifically based nutritional innovations. Purina manufactures some of the world’s most trusted and popular pet care products, including Purina ONE, Pro Plan, Fancy Feast and Tidy Cats. Our more than 8,000 U.S. associates take pride in our trusted pet food, treat and litter brands that feed 49 million dogs and 66 million cats every year. More than 500 Purina scientists, veterinarians, and pet care experts ensure our commitment to unsurpassed quality and nutrition.  

Purina promotes responsible pet care through our scientific research, our products and our support for pet-related organizations. Over the past five years, Purina has contributed more than $150 million towards organizations that bring, and keep, people and pets together, as well as those that help our communities and environment thrive.  

Purina is part of Nestlé, a global leader in Nutrition, Health and Wellness. For more information, visit purina.com or subscribe here to get the latest Purina news.  

Media Contact: Tiffany Gildehaus, tiffany.gildehaus@purina.nestle.com  

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RCC to open machining lab at Reidsville High

BY GERRI HUNT

Rockingham Community College

REIDSVILLE – A machining lab that will enable students to earn high school credits – and tuition-free college credits at the same time – and to finish with a certificate in hand, will open this fall.

High school juniors and seniors can enroll in the program, taught by Rockingham Community College instructors, and pay only for textbooks and student fees. First preference for enrollment is given to students of Reidsville High School, where the lab is located.

The lab was funded with a $200,000 Golden Leaf grant awarded in March 2019. Partners in the project include Rockingham Community College, Rockingham County Schools, the City of Reidsville, the Reidsville Industrial Alliance, the Reidsville Area Foundation, and the Rockingham County Education Foundation. The lab is now furnished with five manual milling machines, five manual lathes, and several smaller support machines.

On April 24, the Board of Trustees of the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges announced to RCC its approval and accreditation of the machining lab. All that is left now is to have a building inspector issue a Certificate of Occupancy, which has been delayed merely because the COVID-19 situation has closed the school and has altered the work schedules of those involved.

Rockingham County Schools continues to enroll students in the machining program. Students will earn 12 semester hours, split between the fall and spring semesters. In the fall, students will have classroom and lab time during their 90-minute first period, five days each week.

“This is an entry-level, basic manual machining course, and is the first stop to a career in machining and manufacturing,” said Kris Brooks, RCC’s dean of Workforce Development. “When they finish, they will have a solid entry-level skillset to get a job, but they can continue their education at RCC. They will earn a Manual Machining Fundamentals Certificate.”

The four classes included in the RHS program, along with their RCC course code, are:
• Blueprint Reading (BPR 111) introduces the basic principles of print reading.
• Industrial Safety (ISC 112) emphasizes the principles of industrial safety and OSHA regulations.
• Introduction to Metrology (MAC 114) introduces the inspection of machine parts and the care and use of a wide variety of precision measuring instruments.
• Machining Technology I (MAC 111) introduces machining operations as they relate to the metalworking industry. Topics include machine shop safety, measuring tools, lathes, drilling machines, saws, milling machines, bench grinders, and layout instruments.

“This program is for males or females; anyone can do it,” said Jennifer Lester, RCC’s director of Career and Technical Education. “Students can earn valuable skills to get a high-skill, high-wage job, or can transfer into the RCC Machining Associate in Applied Science program.”

Brooks stressed that the high school program provides basic skills. “We hope it’s a stepping stone, and students can continue at RCC for more training,” he said. “This is just four of the classes. It’s the shortest offering we’ve ever done to get a certificate.”

The students need just four more credit hours at RCC – which is two courses – to earn a Computer-Machining Fundamentals Certificate.

“Beyond that, they would take a few more classes to get a diploma or Associate Degree in Computer-Integrated Machining (CIM),” Brooks said.

To get the CIM degree, students take classes in Computer-Aided Drafting, Computer-Aided Machining, and Computer Aided Manufacturing.

“Then they’re ready to work as a machining tech or machinist in any area from manufacturing to prototype development to repair and maintenance,” Brooks said.

Students at any of the county’s high schools may apply for admission into the program by contacting their school counselor or career coach.

Gerri Hunt is director of public information at Rockingham Community College. She can be reached at huntg0780@rockinghamcc.edu or 336-342-4261 ext. 2170.

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Small Business Spotlight: Carolina Dune Buggies

Rockingham County, NC (August 14, 2020) – At the age of 13, Tony Edwards, owner of Carolina Dune Buggies (CDB) in Eden, NC, knew he had a love for cars, specifically VW. By age 14 he was building engines and wiring buggies, a trade he learned from his grandfather who he affectionately refers to as his hero. Edwards’ pure enjoyment and excitement for building is what ultimately led him back to building engines and dune buggies in his adult years and led to the creation of Carolina Dune Buggies.

No photo description available.

Edwards started CDB in 2013 with his friend Boyd Higgs. In 2016, Edwards bought out Higgs and relocated to his current facility on Moir Street in Eden. CDB provides top of the line fiberglass bodies, chassis, and accessories to dune buggy, kit car, and VW markets. When a customer comes in or calls, CDB is able to build everything from the ground up, specific to the needs and wants of the customer including color, carpet, seats, upholstery, and even tires. Once Edwards and his crew finish the build, the customer is driving off, with the biggest smile, none the less, in a truly custom, one of a kind, piece of work.

CDB is known worldwide for their parts and building skills. There is not a week that goes by that they do not receive a call from customers in other states and/or countries inquiring about making their dream of owning a dune buggy a reality.

“Who would have ever thought Rockingham County would be on the map worldwide for its availability of dune buggy parts?” questioned Edwards. “I am truly amazed at how this business has taken off over the years and even now. It brings me such joy to see the excitement on a customer’s face when they are finally able to drive their dune buggy out of the shop. It reminds me that I am in the business of not just building dune buggies, but I’m in the business of building dreams.”

Prior to the COVID pandemic, Edwards averaged 30 to 40 calls a day pertaining to parts and custom orders. Amidst COVID, business has surprisingly flourished with an increased call volume of approximately 50 to 60 calls per day.

“So many folks are laid off right now and have extra time on their hands. Many are using this time to bring their dream to a reality and to have something to look forward to each day,” suggested Edwards.

For inquiries about building your dream, email tony@carolinadunebuggies.com. Carolina Dune Buggies is open six days a week, Monday through Saturday from 9:00 am until 5:00 pm.

For more information or questions, please contact Tara Martin, Economic Development Marketing Manager at tmartin@co.rockingham.nc.us.

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Small Business Spotlight: Vibe Nutrition

Rockingham County, NC (July 14, 2020) – Vibe Nutrition, owned and operated by 24 year old Alex Nickerson, took the town of Madison by storm when it opened its doors June 15, 2020. Vibe Nutrition is a healthy smoothie and energy bar, which was the first of its kind on the western side of Rockingham County.

Alex got the idea for the shop after Crave Nutrition opened in Reidsville last year. She found herself driving across the county on a weekly basis to visit the shop, and quickly realized Madison needed something like this. After several conversations and lots of support from Crave Nutrition owner Victoria Ellis, Alex decided to take the leap of faith and become an entrepreneur herself.

The downtown area of Madison has flourished into what is now considered the heartbeat of the town, thus leading Alex to West Murphy Street as her business home. The location she chose was perfect for her efforts, small and quaint yet rich in history. The now Vibe Nutrition storefront was once a horse stable in the 1800’s which was later converted to the covered building you see today. Renovations for the building, which were done by building owner Chris Alvis, as well as Alex and her dad, Roy Nickerson, were simple with a huge impact, especially the exposed brick wall.

Business for the young entrepreneur has taken off and continues to grow. While she sees many new faces visit the store, she has also already established regular clientele who visit every day. “I have been blown away by the sense of community that has been shown to me since opening Vibe Nutrition,” states Alex. “Having been born and raised in Rockingham County, local support is something that is important to me.”

Vibe Nutrition is open Monday through Friday from 7:00 am – 6:00 pm and Saturday from 9:00 am – 1:00 pm each week. They offer 14 energy drink recipes as well as 30 shakes. They are located at 121 West Murphy Street, Madison.

For more information or questions, please contact Tara Martin, Economic Development Marketing Manager at tmartin@co.rockingham.nc.us.

Rockingham County Welcomes New Manufacturer

Rockingham County, NC (May 26, 2020) – Earlier today, Governor Roy Cooper, announced Rockingham County’s newest corporate partner, Ontex Group.

“Following the previously-announced decision to invest in manufacturing in the eastern part of the country to complement shipments from abroad, we are proud to announce the forthcoming opening of Ontex’ first U.S. production site,” Ontex CEO Charles Bouaziz said. “With this meaningful step we accelerate the execution of our strategic priority to increase our U.S. presence.”

Ontex is a Belgium born company that specializes in the manufacturing of disposable hygiene products including adult and baby diapers, as well as feminine hygiene products. With manufacturing facilities currently located in 16 countries, this will be their first in the United States.

Located in Rockingham County’s newest industrial park, Carroll Industrial Development’s, South Rockingham Corporate Park, the Ontex project will bring $96 million in new capital investment along with 403 jobs.  “We are excited to add Ontex to our industrial base and look forward to a long-term partnership ensuring their success,” stated Leigh Cockram, Rockingham County Economic Development Director. “This announcement is not only a great opportunity for job expansion in our area, but also solidifies that Rockingham County, including the South Rockingham County Corporate Park, is positioned well for future growth.”

For more information please contact Tara Martin, Economic Development Marketing Manager at tmartin@co.rockingham.nc.us.

 

Citizens for Economic Development Secures Additional Funds for Rockingham County Micro-Businesses Grant

Rockingham County, NC (May 18, 2020) – Rockingham County Citizens for Economic Development is excited to announce additional funds were secured to offer micro-businesses in Rockingham County grant funding.

Announced in April, Citizen’s for Economic Development (CED) in collaboration with Rockingham County Economic Development, developed a grant package for Rockingham County mico-businesses, defined as businesses with less than 10 full-time employees. The response was overwhelming, proving a greater need for support to Rockingham County’s small, local businesses. 

After much collaboration with Rockingham County businesses and organizations and with extreme generosity, additional funds were received from Truist (BB&T Bank), HomeTrust Bank, Leadership Rockingham (GoFundMe project), Eden Rotary, Reidsville Rotary, Reidsville Area Foundation, Madison-Mayodan Rotary, The Wright Company, and Sylvia Grogan. The additional funds were dispersed to several businesses which previously applied for the grant and will serve as a supplement to assist with rent/mortgage, employee support (salaries, insurance, paid leave), utilities (i.e. electricity, phone/internet, etc.), purchase of COVID-19 supplies for business protection/cleaning, expenses associated with marketing, and such.

A total of 84 grants were dispersed to Rockingham County micro-businesses, with priority given to those businesses directly impacted by the Governor’s Executive Order issued March 23, 2020.

“We are overjoyed with the outpouring of support from our Rockingham County colleagues and partners,” said Leigh Cockram, Rockingham County Economic Development Director. “Although we realize the need is still great, it is our hope that these grant funds soften the blow COVID-19 has had to those businesses who have been forced to close or to operate at limited capacity.”

For more information, questions, or for ways to help, please contact Tara Martin, Economic Development Marketing Manager at tmartin@co.rockingham.nc.us.

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Local Industry Donates In Demand Items During Time of Countywide Need

Rockingham County, NC (May 11th, 2020) – Hand sanitizer is in short demand, due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Health experts, including the Center for Disease Control (CDC) and World Health Organization (WHO), recommend using an alcohol-based sanitizer to prevent the spread of COVID-19, in addition to washing hands thoroughly with soap and warm water.

To help the local community meet the demand, Henniges Automotive of Reidsville, used supplies on hand to produce their own, using the CDC and WHO’s guidelines. Through their production, they have the capacity to produce approximately 500 gallons of hand sanitizer. Over the last week, Henniges has donated 200 bottles of hand sanitizer as well as 1,000 face masks they had in excess to Rockingham County Government. The sanitizer and masks will go to Rockingham County agencies such as Public Health and Emergency Management Services, who are the County’s frontline heroes in the fight against COVID-19.

“It is such a blessing to have industries in our community that are willing to lend a hand in the time of a crisis like Henniges,” stated Lance Metzler, Rockingham County Manager. “This shows a true commitment to Rockingham County. From each of us at Rockingham County Government, we want to sincerely thank Henniges for providing much-needed hand sanitizer and masks for our employees and clients.”

When the need to sanitizer became apparent, Chris Eckhardt’s, Henniges Automotive Reidsville Plant Manager, desire to keep his employees safe prompted him and his team to research what it takes to make their own. They quickly realized, many of the ingredients outlined by the CDC and WHO, were ones on hand at the plant. After production started, the supply Eckhardt and staff were able to produce went much farther that what was needed for Henniges employees; this lead them to reach out to the surrounding community, especially those on the frontlines, to assist those whose need outweighed their supply.

“All of us at Henniges Automotive are proud of our first responders, essential workers, and our community,” stated Eckhardt.  “It gives all of us a great deal of satisfaction to be able to give back and support anyway we can.”

The Henniges team plans to produce and donate approximately 500 total gallons of hand sanitizer over the course of the next few weeks, including 50 bottles which will donated to Rockingham Community College.

For more information, questions, or for ways to help, please contact Tara Martin, Economic Development Marketing Manager at tmartin@co.rockingham.nc.us.

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Local Business Owner Donates Mask Holders to Essential Workers

Rockingham County, NC (April 14, 2020) – Clif Messick, owner of Cold War Concealment of Stoneville, recently donated close to 100 mask holders to essential workers in Rockingham County as well as New York, New Jersey, and Kentucky.

After several conversations with acquaintances in the medical field, Messick learned of the pain and discomfort they were experiencing due to the prolonged wear of N95 and other medical masks. As a business owner and product developer, he quickly turned to supplies on hand that could help.  With a little research and a few prototypes, he developed a mask holder
that would hold medical masks in place while protecting the ears of the wearer.

Messick has donated several mask holders to local law enforcement agencies, including Madison Police Department, Mayodan Police Department, and Rockingham County Sheriff’s Department, local dealerships, and even local healthcare facilities. Messick notes that thus far everyone is loving them.

“I am just so grateful for the incredible work our essential workers are doing during this unsettling time,” Messick states. “It humbles me to know that I can provide a tool that can help make their job a little easier and a little less painful.”

Cold War Concealment began operations in 2018 in Stoneville, N.C. They make handcrafted firearm holders and other related gear. Messick started the business to meet his own need at the time and found he enjoyed providing a quality product to others as well.

For more information or questions, please contact Tara Martin, Economic Development Marketing Manager at tmartin@co.rockingham.nc.us.

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Rockingham County Restaurants Offer Curbside Pick-Up and Delivery After COVID-19 Shutdown

It was announced Tuesday, March 17th that all restaurants and bars will close for dine-in until further notice.  According to the order, takeout and delivery orders are still an option. In an effort to support and lift our local restaurants in Rockingham County, Economic Development has put together the follow list of those that are offering delivery and/or curbside pick-up services. Please note this list is very fluid and is constantly changing. We are doing our best to keep it as up to date as possible. If you have any changes that need to be made, please feel free to email us at tmartin@co.rockingham.nc.us. Let’s support our favorite restaurants today so they are here tomorrow.

Click HERE to see a list of those restaurants who are open for business.

 

 

Economic Development Welcomes New Marketing Manager

Rockingham County, NC (March 3, 2020) – Rockingham County Economic Development is excited to announce that Tara Martin has joined the department as its Marketing Manager. A native of Rockingham County, Martin comes to the department with 12 years of extensive marketing and public relations experience. 

“We are thrilled that Tara has joined our team,” said Leigh Cockram, Director, Economic Development.  “As Communications Director for the Martinsville Henry County Coalition for Health and Wellness and most recently Assistant Public Information Officer for the Rockingham County Division of Public Health, Tara brings with her a wealth of knowledge related to branding, advertisements, and social media marketing. I have no doubt that this experience coupled with her creativity, energy, and passion for her hometown will allow our office to expand our marketing efforts showcasing Rockingham County as the great place it is.”  

Tara Martin, Marketing Manager, Economic, Small Business and Tourism Development

As Marketing Manager for Economic Development, Tara will be responsible for implementing marketing strategies aimed at increasing the visibility of Rockingham County as a great place to live, work, and play. In addition, she will oversee and coordinate the proactive marketing efforts of the Department of Economic Development, Small Business, and Tourism in conjunction with the manager of each division.

“I look forward to working with the team at Economic Development and promoting all the wonderful things we have to offer in Rockingham County,” said Martin.  “As a resident of Rockingham County myself, I look forward to strengthening the economic infrastructure currently in place as we pave the way for improvements in our County’s future.”


Tara can be contacted at 336-342-8363 or tmartin@co.rockingham.nc.us.