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LUCI WELDON/The Warren Record

Expansion plans for Glen Raven’s Norlina plant, located on US 1, are expected to bolster not only the facility itself, but also the local workforce and economy.

 

Glen Raven, Inc., a producer of synthetic yarns, has announced plans for an $82 million expansion for its Norlina plant that is expected to bring more than 205 new jobs to the community.

Tare “T” Davis, chairman of the Warren County Board of Commissioners, told the newspaper that the expansion project would address needs expressed by local citizens.

“The citizens of Warren County, for a very long time, have been asking their commissioners to attract good paying jobs, good industries that are good for the areas, to bring good jobs and good economic growth. We took this as our marching orders,” he said.

Warren County government announced that the Norlina plant was in the running for the expansion in June when county Economic Director Charla Duncan told county commissioners that the expansion had a potential investment of $58 million in real property and $24 million in personal property, which would include renovation to the local facility on US Highway 1 in Norlina and construction of new buildings. 

Last month, county commissioners approved offering, over a 10-year period, annual tax grants equal to 60 percent of the paid tax liability for the year on the new liability based on the value as appraised by the Warren County tax office. This incentive totals just over $3.2 million. At the same time, the county would retain $2.1 million in new tax revenue over the 10-year period.

The board of county commissioners also waived up to $150,000 in county inspection and building permit fees, and approved a resolution to make application for a North Carolina Commerce Building Reuse Grant with a match of up to $25,000.

Gov. Roy Cooper’s office announced the expansion on July 21 with a news release indicating Warren County would see a $6.5 million payroll impact from the new jobs being created that would carry with them an average salary above the county’s average wage of $30,494.

“Ever since Glen Raven was founded in the great state of North Carolina in 1880, we’ve invested in our community and have celebrated many accomplishments together,” Leib Ohemig, the company’s chief executive officer, states in the news release. “We look forward to building on this legacy as we further grow and strengthen both Warren County and Glen Raven for the future.”

With a portfolio of global businesses, Glen Raven includes divisions focusing on custom fabrics, technical fabrics, fabric marketing and logistics. It is known for such brands as Sunbrella© and Dickson©. The company provides performance fabrics sold in more than 120 countries. Glen Raven’s existing Norlina building was constructed in 1970.

Gov. Cooper also announced last week that the One North Carolina Fund had awarded a performance-based grant of $1 million to facilitate expansion plans. The Fund provides financial assistance to local governments to help attract economic investment and create jobs. Companies receive no funds upfront and must meet job creation and capital investment targets to qualify for payment. The grants require a local government match.

In a news release from Warren County government, county Economic Development Director Charla Duncan said that Glen Raven has been a fixture in the community for more than three decades.

“Glen Raven has been an indispensable fixture of our business community for thirty-seven years,” she said. “To take part in the company’s realization of their strategic growth plan doesn’t just feel good; it feels right.”

 In the county news release, Warren County Manager Vincent Jones said that the expansion project represents the efforts of many people.

“This project is a trajectory changer for Warren County,” he said. “Glen Raven has recognized the value in Warren County, the workforce we can attract, and how that will positively impact their bottom line. I have to commend our board of commissioners for pushing us as county staff for results, as well as our Warren County team that helped us through this economic development process, especially our Community & Economic Development Director, Charla Duncan, who led our efforts.”

Davis echoed Jones’ statement.

“This expansion speaks to the hard work and dedication of private and public partnerships in a rural community,” Davis told the newspaper. “Glen Raven has been a long time in the community and has done wonderful things for the community.” 

He expressed appreciation to all partners involved in efforts to bring the expansion to Norlina, including Warren County administrators, Glen Raven and the governor’s office.

Davis said that he hopes that the Glen Raven expansion represents the first of many economic development opportunities that will come to Warren County in the future.

“We are just so excited. This is one of many to come,” he said. “We are working hard to build relationships and bring economic growth to the citizens of Warren County.”