North Wilkesboro, N.C.— Wilkes Economic Development Corporation hosted a Ground-breaking Ceremony on Tuesday, March 30, for the Town of North Wilkesboro to commenceconstruction on a new 500,000-gallon, approximately 140-foot-tall water tank. The new tank will provide the necessary water pressure for the fire safety sprinkler systems at JELD-WEN Inc.’s NorthWilkesboro plant expansion. It will also improve hydraulics of the town water system from RiverRoad-Liberty Grove Road to N.C. Highway 268 East, an area currently served by an elevatedstorage tank and 12-inch water main off Flint Hill Road.
In November 2020, the Town of North Wilkesboro approved a $2.26 million bid for the water tower. Indiana-based Phoenix Fabricators and Erectors LLC won the bid. The town is contributing $1.48 million to the project with two economic development grants covering the remaining cost. The N.C. Department of Commerce is funding a $580,000 Community Development Block Grant, andthe Golden LEAF Foundation is contributing $200,000.The N.C. Department of Environmental Quality is providing a $1.9 million low-interest Drinking Water State Revolving Fund loan to the Town of North Wilkesboro.
“The provision of water is one of the Town of North Wilkesboro’s most important services to citizens, that also creates economic opportunity. Reliablewater service gives businesses like JELD-WEN confidence to expand, which in turn provides jobopportunities for our residents, increases our tax base, and sends the message that NorthWilkesboro is a good place to do business,” said Mayor Robert Johnson. “I want to thank ourarea legislators, Senator Deanna Ballard and Representative Jeffrey Elmore, the N.C. Department ofEnvironmental Quality, the N.C. Department of Commerce, and the Golden LEAF Foundation fortheir help in making this project happen.
“The Golden LEAF Foundation is proud to be a partner with the Town of North Wilkesboro toprovide infrastructure critical to supporting economic growth,” said ScottT. Hamilton, GoldenLEAF president, chief executive officer. “This project will help create quality jobs andemployment opportunities for years to come.”
As a result of increased water capacity, Charlotte-based JELD-WEN was able to complete an $8 million expansion of its North Wilkesboro manufacturing plant, adding 29 jobs. The company’s commitment to invest in the expansion and additional jobs assisted in securing grants to offset some of the cost for the water tank.
“I want to express my appreciation for the hard work of the Wilkes Economic Development Corporation to get this project funded,” said Gary S. Michelpresident, and chief executive officer of JELD-WEN Holding, Inc. (NYSE: JELD). “The new water tower will allow us to operate our facility safely, and it positions us to continue our growth in Wilkes County.”
Earlier in the day, Michel, presented an award for global top performing plant to Jeff Mang, plant manager of the company’s North Wilkesboro manufacturing facility.
“When I first joined the Wilkes Economic Development Corporation in fall of 2018, JELD-WEN’s local operation employed approximately 80 people. Now it has over 200 employees, far exceeding the commitment of 29 jobs, in North Wilkesboro,” said LeeAnn Nixon, president of the Wilkes EDC. “While this project supported JELD-WEN’s local expansion, it will also create the infrastructure necessary for us to recruit new businesses to North Wilkesboro for additional economic growth. I sincerely thank all of the contributing partners involved in making this effort successful.”
Contributing partners are:
- Town of North Wilkesboro - $1.48 million investment in water tower
- JELD-WEN Windows and Doors - $8 million expansion in North Wilkesboro
- N.C. Department of Commerce - $580,000 N.C. Community Development Block Grant
- The Golden LEAF Foundation - $200,000 grant for water tower
- N.C. Department of Environmental Quality – –$1.9 million low-interest Drinking Water State Revolving Fund Loan to Town of North Wilkesboro
- Economic Development Partnership of N.C. – Assisted Wilkes EDC in grant development
- McAdams & Associates – Grant administration
- Kimley-Horn – Engineering design services
- Phoenix Fabricators and Erectors LLC – Construction services
Apple Brandy Prime Cuts retail shop comes to North Wilkesboro- Processing plant is expanding
North Wilkesboro, N.C. — Shoppers will soon have a new option for fresh cuts of premium meats in downtown North Wilkesboro as Apple Brandy Prime Cuts opens a retail space at 106 Chestnut Street next to Smoot Park. It is slated to open in early spring 2021, adding four positions bringing its total to 12 employees. Seth Church, owner of Apple Brandy Prime Cuts, also operates a harvesting and processing plant on Thomas Street in North Wilkesboro. His processing plant is under inspection for calves, cattle, swine, sheep, goats and ratite, which are large, flightless birds such as the ostrich.
“While fresh, hand cut-to-order Apple Brandy Beef steaks will always be at the center of the offering for Prime Cuts, a variety of local products from Western North Carolina will be more convenient and readily available to the residents of Wilkes,” said Church.
According to Church, Prime Cuts will continue to rely on local farms and producers to source the food items offered in the retail shop. Apple Brandy Beef, raised in Wilkes County, is the anchor product of Prime Cuts. Prime Cuts also offers fresh pork sourced from Looper Family Farms in Granite Falls, as well as whole country hams and packages from A.B. Vannoy Hams of West Jefferson. Cheese products from English Farmstead Cheese in Marion, N.C., will be added to the product line.
Apple Brandy Prime Cuts provides inspected harvesting and processing of livestock for both producers utilizing it for their own consumption and licensed meat handlers who sell their products through markets and retail outlets. The livestock processed at Apple Brandy Prime Cuts are drawn predominantly from central and western North Carolina.
COVID-19 has dramatically increased the demand for services at Wilkes Abattoir, which is doing business as Apple Brandy Prime Cuts. At the onset of the pandemic, the lead time on appointments for harvesting all species went from six weeks to well over one year. As a result, appointments are currently booked through the end of calendar year 2021, according to Church.
“In addition to request for custom processing, Apple Brandy Prime Cuts incurred a substantial increase in demand for retail sales at the onset of the pandemic. The community reached out to Prime Cuts to stock home freezers and ensure their families would have quality local proteins for the duration of the pandemic. The Apple Brandy Beef and Apple Brandy Prime Cuts team put in extra effort and hours to be able to service everyone through the current small retail shop on Thomas Street,” said Church. “This demand for our products has grown throughout 2020. The addition of the larger, more convenient retail space will allow Apple Brandy Beef and Apple Brandy Prime Cuts to serve the community at a much greater scale.”
Church says the Thomas Street processing plant needs to expand to meet demands from regional butcheries that rely on Apple Brandy Prime Cuts to harvest livestock that are then processed in the local butchery shops. Church received an IMPEC (Increasing Meat Production Efficiency & Capacity) grant from N.C. Department of Agriculture & Consumer Services for equipment upgrades and a 700-square-foot expansion at the Thomas Street plant.
"On behalf of the Mayor and Commissioners, I want to thank Seth Church and Apple Brandy Prime Cuts for choosing downtown North Wilkesboro for their expansion. They're bringing the flavors of the Wilkes County countryside into town, giving all area residents the opportunity to enjoy farm fresh meat. Between Apple Brandy Prime Cuts and the seasonal Wilkes County Farmers Market a few blocks away, downtown North Wilkesboro should be the area's culinary destination of choice for years to come," said North Wilkesboro Town Manager Wilson Hooper.
“Wilkes Economic Development Corporation congratulates Apple Brandy Prime Cuts in growing to meet demand at its current facility and expanding into a new location. The expansion is an excellent example of how agriculture and food processing, two sectors Wilkes County excels within, have overcome challenges and remained strong in 2020,” said Wilkes EDC President LeeAnn Nixon. Vice President Robin Hamby welcomed the opportunity to provide assistance to Seth Church throughout his search for a new location. Both stated, “We look forward to supporting Apple Brandy as it embarks on the next stage of business growth.”
HISTORY OF THE BUSINESS
Wilkes Abattoir, doing business as Apple Brandy Prime Cuts, purchased Thomas Brothers Meat Processing May 2, 2019, as a means to continue the provision of inspected meat processing to livestock producers and meat handlers in North Carolina. Thomas Brothers began in the late 1960s. Apple Brandy Prime Cuts is the sister company to Apple Brandy Beef, a North Carolina meat handler since 2006. Both organizations are owned by fourth generation cattle producer Seth Church.
# # #
Owen Medical Products, LLC opens in North Wilkesboro
North Wilkesboro, N.C. — Owen Medical Products, LLC, a woman-owned small business (WOSB), is opening in the Town Square business complex in North Wilkesboro this month. The new company will manufacture and supply non-woven disposable ASTM Level 1 procedural face masks and distribute other disposable and medical products. These disposable medical products will be sold direct to the end user (hospitals, ambulatory surgical centers, outpatient medical clinics, long-term care, dental, veterinary and consumer markets) and through distribution channels to diversify the customer portfolio.
Jill Parsons Owen, owner and chief executive officer, says the company was created to address the United States’ dependence on China and other foreign suppliers for critical medical products. Joining her in this venture is her husband Brian Owen, who will serve as chief operating officer.
“Wilkes EDC is grateful that Jill and Brian Owen of Owen Medical Products shared their vision and allowed us to assist in a building search for their new endeavor. We look forward to a successful start-up and product launch that will provide critical medical supplies to those in need, while also creating local job opportunities in Wilkes County. As they grow, we will strive to be a continued resource that offers support and celebrates their success,” said Wilkes EDC President LeeAnn Nixon.
The Owens plan to employ five workers initially in phase one but anticipate employing approximately 10 as they add additional automated mask lines by the end of their second year in business. Phase two of expansion, anticipated in the third year of operation, will include the manufacture of additional disposable PPE (personal protective equipment) products such as isolation gowns.
According to Brian Owen, Owen Medical Products is in the early phase of discussions with healthcare systems both in North Carolina and across the United States, and the intial feedback from these organizations has been very positive; they are excited and eagerly awaiting the start-up on its manufacturing line. The same can be said for long-term care facilities throughout the United States.
Other sales channels for the company include large industrial, commercial and transportation companies where the need to protect their workforce as well as their customer base is essential to their business operations. The company also plans to target local, state and national government organizations where the use of PPE is now the norm.
The company also plans to target the “direct to consumer market” utilizing different channels, first by way of national retail store chains and national wholesale store chains and secondly by way of e-commerce utilizing an Amazon store front.
"Owen Medical Products puts a 21st century spin on North Wilkesboro's long tradition of manufacturing, using high technology in a lab-like environment to make products that are essential in today's environment,” said Wilson Hooper, town manager for Town of North Wilkesboro. “What's more they'll be occupying a landmark property downtown, helping bring commerce and activity to Main Street. On behalf of the Mayor and Board of Commissioners,
I welcome Owen Medical Products and thank them for choosing North Wilkesboro."
Jill Parsons Owen is a native of Wilkes County and a graduate of the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill with majors in economics and history. She obtained her nursing degree in 2013 and has a total of 16 years of experience in the healthcare market, including marketing, administrative and clinical experience.
“My extensive knowledge of the regulations and requirements associated with the healthcare market and the products used in this field will give the company a definite advantage with selling our products into the major healthcare systems, long-term care and other vertical healthcare markets we will target,” explained Owen.
Brian Owen, a graduate of Elon University’s Martha and Spencer Love School of Business, has more than 30 years of experience in the areas of sales, manufacturing, operations, product marketing and supply chain in the medical device market. In particular, he has over 15 years’ experience in clean room manufacturing. He has worked with healthcare systems and long-term care facilities throughout the U.S. supplying essential medical products and other value-added services.
For more information about Owen Medical Products, visit www.OwenMedicalProducts.com or call 336-818-2160.
Wilkes County Economic Development Corporation in Conjunction with the Wilkes Chapter of the Winston-Salem Regional Association of REALTORS® and NC Homeowners Alliance Release Local Housing Needs Assessment and Plan Report Shows Broad and Diverse Housing and Rental Needs Over Next 5 Years
WILKES COUNTY, NC (September 22, 2020) – The Wilkes Economic Development Corporation (Wilkes EDC) in conjunction with the Wilkes Chapter of Winston-Salem Regional Association of REALTORS® (WSRAR) and the NC Homeowners Alliance (NCHA) is releasing a Housing Needs and Assessment Plan that confirms a broad and diverse range of housing and rentals are needed to plan for future growth.
The Assessment, completed by Bowen National Research, was commissioned by Wilkes EDC who committed $9,500, followed by WSRAR and NAR granting $5,000 joined by the NC Homeowners Alliance providing a grant of $3,500. Collectively these entities realized a need to better understand the currentand future economics,demographics and housing inventory within Wilkes County, North Carolina.
Troi Bachmann, Local Government Affairs Director on behalf of NC REALTORS® stated, “REALTORS® are so excited to have partnered with the Wilkes EDC to bring this study into being. The data presented in this study gives us an exciting opportunity to plan for a healthy future for all of Wilkes County – one that benefits existing residents and draws in new people and businesses to our wonderful county!”
Brett Cothren, Chairman of Wilkes EDC shared, “I am pleased the Wilkes EDC Board of Directors funded the much-needed housing study in conjunction with a grant from the Wilkes Chapter of the Winston-Salem Regional Association of REALTORS® from the National Association of REALTORS®, and NC Homeowners Alliance for Wilkes County. This study shows critical housing shortages across the board. Available housing is a crucial ‘spoke in the wheel’ that spurs an adequate labor force for our area employers and is vital to the growth of our county.”
A few of the highlights and key points from the assessment include:
- Need exists for 995 additional rentals and 1,511 for-sale units over the next 5 years.
- Opportunities are diverse in price points creating a demand for a broad-based approach to support future growth.
- Nearly 10,0000 commuters travel into the County daily for work who could potentially be residents.
- Potential sites that would be suitable for development are included in the report.
Wilkes EDC hosted apresentation on September 22, 2020, where local stakeholders were given the opportunity in person orvirtuallyto gain insight and engage with Patrick Bowen, of Bowen National Research. LeeAnn Nixon, President of Wilkes EDC commented, “We are grateful to have collectively joinedefforts with our REALTORS®, local government and community to quantify our housing needs and provide a tool for developers to consider adding product in Wilkes. We look forward tocontinuinga conversation and taking steps to prepare for our current and future citizens”.
Bowen National Research conducts real estate market analyses on a variety of housing and commercial development alternatives in markets throughout the United States. Ranging from preliminary market assessments or full market feasibility studies. BNR has engaged with over 70 counties in North Carolina.
Wilkes Economic Development Corporation is a 501 c3 public-private partnership. The mission of the Wilkes EDC is to facilitate the creation of new jobs and capital investment in Wilkes County, North Carolina through the retention and expansion of existing businesses and the recruitment of new businesses.
Winston-Salem Regional Association of REALTORS® is a real estate trade association serving real estate professionals in Forsyth, Stokes, Davie, Yadkin, Wilkes, and northern Davidson counties. as the voice for the Real Estate Industry in the Winston-Salem Piedmont Area. The mission of the WSRAR is to be the leading resource for real estate professionals, to advocate for private property rights and to be an integral part of the community.
The NC Homeowners Alliance represents the interests of property owners in the General Assembly and raises awareness of issues and legislation that affect consumers' most important investment: their home.
Presentation from September 22, 2020 at 8:30am | Stone Center for the Performing Arts, Wilkes County NC
Wilkes EDC awards 2020 Entrepreneurial Grants
North Wilkesboro, N.C. — Six local small businesses were announced as receiving Entrepreneurial Grants from the Wilkes Economic Development Corporation at the EDC’s board meeting on Friday, June 12, 2020. The seventh annual Entrepreneurial Grant Competition received applications from 14 businesses in Wilkes County in several categories including food service, recreation, construction and retail business, to name a few. Business plans were judged with the emphasis being on sustainability and the potential funding impact to the business. Grant amounts totaling $13,500 were distributed this year between six companies in two categories, new and existing businesses.
Stardust Cellars, located at 4780 Statesville Rd, North Wilkesboro, received $2,500 for bottles and labels for a new line of mead production. Owners Kaitie and Nicolas von Cosmos opened Stardust Cellars in 2018 and specialize in naturally and sustainably produced wines and meads using local ingredients. Their mead is made by fermenting raw local honey in water then allowing it to age. To learn more, visit http://stardustcellars.com/. The von Cosmos also operate a taproom located at 1202 Curtis Bridge Road in Wilkesboro.
The Wilkes EDC awarded The Vintage Work Shoppe $1,000 to purchase equipment to help with social media marketing. Hope Jordan opened the Vintage Work Shoppe in 2016 and specializes in re-purposing furniture with Shabby Chic design elements. Owner/Interior Decorator/Painter, Hope Jordan, specializes in hand painted furniture using mineral and milk paints. Jordan offers paint supplies, “How To” tutorials and Facebook Live sessions for paid groups in addition to workshops and private lessons at her business. The Vintage Work Shoppe is located inside of Key City Antiques in North Wilkesboro. Learn more at http://www.hopejordanatthevintageworkshoppe.com/.
Brandon York and his wife Jennifer own Northwest N.C. Batting Facility located at 503 C St, North Wilkesboro. The facility, which opened in March 2020, is a self-service indoor batting and pitching facility for baseball and softball players of all ages. It can be used for private lessons and parties. York plans to utilize the $2,000 grant funding to install cooling units and other equipment. To learn more about Northwest N.C. Batting Facility, visit https://www.nwncbattingfacility.com/.
Brushy Mountain Granola Company, located in Wilkes, says its mission is as simple as its ingredients: “create great tasting snacks that allow us to connect with, energize, and support our fellow life adventurers.” Owner Angela Reynolds, with her family, launched Brushy Mountain Granola Company in March 2020 and plans to use her $2,000 grant award for branded offerings, events, and marketing. Brushy Mountain Granola Company offers nine varieties made with fresh, local ingredients. To learn more or to shop, visit https://www.brushymountaingranola.com/.
Wilkes EDC President LeeAnn Nixon said, “We believe in entrepreneurship and the benefits it adds to a community. For that reason, we are happy to have the opportunity to invest capital into local small business development and expansion. These business owners are using real innovation and creativity to make Wilkes a better place to live for us all. And, the real reward is encouraging them and watching their businesses flourish,” said LeeAnn Nixon, president of the Wilkes EDC. “Throughout the program, applicants can meet with Laurie Brintle-Jarvis of the Small Business Center for business plan assistance, which increases the potential for a successful business venture. Additionally, we suggest mentors, resources and referrals that can complement winning the entrepreneurial grant.”
Nixon also stated, “We want to thank our judges for their time and dedication to this annual competition.” This year’s judges were Bob Urness, Town of Wilkesboro; Amy Blair, Blair Properties; Gia Galifianakis, Gria Consulting; Gary Daemer, InfusionPoints; and Crystal Keener, Town of North Wilkesboro.
Full Press Release: 2020-06-12_Wilkes_EDC_awards_2020_Entrepreneurial_Grants_1.pdf