ROCKINGHAM — A new packaging company is coming to Richmond County, bringing nearly 100 new jobs along with it, state and local officials announced Thursday morning.
California-based Direct Pack, Inc. will locate an East Coast facility just outside Rockingham, creating 94 jobs over the next five years, with plans to invest $12.75 million, according to Gov. Pat McCrory’s office.
“Innovative companies like Direct Pack recognize that nothing compares to the many advantages North Carolina offers a growing business,” McCrory said in a statement. “From our workforce to our outstanding business climate, all the ingredients a company needs to reach new heights are right here.”
A subsidiary of PMC Global, Direct Pack specializes in thermoformed packaging for agriculture, food service, supermarket chains and food processors, according to the governor’s office.
“Direct Pack is excited to partner with the state of North Carolina and Richmond County,” said Craig Snedden, Direct Pack’s president. “We feel Rockingham is ideally situated to service both our existing East Coast customer partners and our plans for future domestic expansion.”
Its products “span from functional berry containers to innovative salad bowls, all kinds of bakery and deli containers and image-building entrée take-out solutions,” according to Direct Pack’s website.
“Direct Pack is a company alive with entrepreneurial spirit,” N.C. Commerce Secretary John Skvarla said in a statement. “We welcome the leaders and employees of this company as they join North Carolina’s collaborative business community.”
Martie Butler, county economic developer, said the Direct Pack facility will be in the Trane building next to the airport.
The company is headquartered in Azuza, California and has facilities in other parts of the Sunshine State, including Sun Valley — where it was founded in 2006 — Salinas and Ontario, and also has one in Bloomfield, New Jersey.
The parent company also has warehouses throughout the country “to maintain timely inventories for customers,” McCrory’s office said.
The project was made possible in part by a performance-based grant from the One North Carolina Fund — provides financial assistance, through local governments, to attract business projects that will create new jobs and investment in the state — of up to $300,000, according to the governor’s office.
Companies receive no money upfront and must meet job creation and capital investment targets to qualify for grant funds. All One N.C. grants require a local government match.
Butler said the county’s match is $302,175.
“This was based on the Richmond County Economic Development Grant Program, as adopted June 2, 1997 by the Richmond County Board of Commissioners, which permits a contractual agreement between the county and a new or existing business that would allow for an annual financial grant based upon the actual value, schedule and payment of local property taxes for a period of up to five consecutive years,” she said.
Butler added that the company would receive 60 percent of its property taxes back if it meets the $12.7 million investment amount.
State and federal representatives of Richmond County praised the announcement and welcomed the company to their district.
“Companies with the global reach of Direct Pack can choose many places to operate,” said state Sen. Tom McInnis, R-Richmond. “I’m pleased the company has discovered the many benefits of doing business in our region.”
“Direct Pack will become an important employer in our area for many years to come,” said state Rep. Ken Goodman, D-Richmond. “We welcome this new business to our community.”
Goodman is also chairman of the Main Street Democrats, a caucus of pro-business Democrats in the General Assembly.
“Today’s jobs announcement is further proof that southeastern North Carolina is not only an incredible region to find hardworking employees, but also a great business climate for manufacturing to succeed,” U.S. Rep. Richard Hudson, R-Concord, said in a statement. “I’d like to welcome Direct Pack to Richmond County and express my gratitude for their strong investment into our community.”
In addition to the state commerce department and Economic Development Partnership of North Carolina, other key partners in the project cited in the statement include the North Carolina General Assembly, the North Carolina Community College System, Richmond Community College, Richmond County Board of Commissioners and Richmond County Economic Development.
‘A SOLID YEAR’
Kenneth Robinette, chairman of the Richmond County Board of Commissioners, said job creation is all about the fundamentals — which include affordable costs, available sites and buildings, and close proximity to major consumer markets — “and our county’s fundamentals are strong.”
This is the fifth economic development announcement and the third new business to make a home in Richmond County this year. With all the projects combined, Butler said the county has announced the creation of 332 new jobs and $46.5 million in capital investment.
Plastek announced in January that it would invest $2.5 million and hire 23 new employees to expand its facility on County Home Road.
The following month, Perdue Foods declared its intent to invest $10.9 million and hire 30 new workers over the next three years at its chicken processing plant in Rockingham.
Perdue also received a grant from the One North Carolina Fund, and, according to Butler, has exceeded its original job creation numbers.
RSI Home Products held a groundbreaking ceremony in March after announcing the construction of a new 300,000 square-foot manufacturing and distribution facility in the Richmond County Industrial Park. The cabinet maker, which also has a site in Lincoln County, is set to hire 175 employees and expects to open next month.
Wisconsin-based Red Flint Group announced in April that it would open North Carolina Industrial Sand at a site on Airport Road.
Company officials have not yet said how many workers they plan to hire, what the average wage will be or when they plan to be operational.
“We’re having a solid year,” Richmond County Commissioner Jimmy Capps said in a statement. “The success we’re seeing in our job growth efforts is the result of a strong spirit of collaboration that exists in Richmond County — from the terrific customer service companies get from our economic development program to the excellent workforce training they receive from Richmond Community College.”
Construction on the Enviva wood pellet plant, which was announced in September of 2014, is scheduled to begin later this year, with the facility opening next year. Butler said county officials recently visited the company’s plant in Sampson County, which is nearing completion.
Glen Gray, project sponsor for the proposed sites in Richmond and Sampson counties, told commissioners in February that the plant — which is planning to hire 80 employees — is expected to start manufacturing product by the fourth quarter of 2017.
At the time, Gray said the company had already spent more than $3 million on the project.
“We are working with Enviva’s engineers on the fire protection system and I know they are working with Duke Energy to run additional power to the site…they are moving forward and working on the supporting infrastructure,” County Manager Rick Sago said in a Thursday email. “The road, water and sewer and electricity — which required upgrades that were provided by Pee Dee Electric — are completed to the building and the natural gas construction is on schedule and progressing.”
The wood pellets, which are a renewable energy source that can be burned in place of coal, will be exported from a new terminal at the Port of Wilmington.
Reach William R. Toler at 910-817-2675 and follow him on Twitter @William_r_toler.