06/25/17 — Industry comes to Wayne County

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Industry comes to Wayne County

By Steve Herring
Published in News on June 25, 2017 1:45 AM

A South African company plans to open its first U.S. location in Goldsboro, creating 60 jobs over three years while making a $2.48 million local investment.

Stormberg Foods LLC., a producer of meat protein snacks, is in final negotiations with the property owners of the former Sunburst facility on Sunburst Drive.

The new positions in Wayne County will provide a payroll impact of nearly $1.9 million each year to the local economy.

The facility upgrade could start by September.

The announcement was made Thursday by Gov. Roy Cooper. It did not include a project timetable.

"I am pleased to welcome Stormberg Foods to Goldsboro," Mayor Chuck Allen said. "Not only are they bringing new life to a vacant property, they are bringing more than 50 much-needed jobs to our community.

"I look forward to watching their progress at this location and wish them much success."

Stormberg Foods is a new venture in the United States for the market-leading company based in Port Elizabeth, South Africa.

The company's mainstay product is a meat-based snack similar to beef jerky, known as biltong. The company distributes its products under several popular brand names.

"We are very excited to have Stormberg Foods come to Wayne County," said Bob Kornegay, Wayne County Development Alliance board chairman.

Kornegay said he was learning more about the company and had been on its website Thursday.

The company's commitment to healthy whole foods is a perfect fit for eastern North Carolina and the U.S., he said.

"Us being in the middle of agricultural area, particularly North Carolina and the Southeast, it is a perfect fit," he said.

The Wayne County Development Alliance has been working with the company for more than a year to assist with finding the perfect place to establish its first U.S. operations, Alliance President Crystal Gettys said.

The project was brought to the Alliance by the NCEast Alliance.

"This is great news," Wayne County Commission Chairman Bill Pate said. "We are looking forward to Stormberg Foods joining our workforce community."

International firms have many choices when they start a new operation in the U.S., said state Sen. Don Davis of Snow Hill, whose District 5 includes part of Wayne County.

"It's great news that Stormberg Foods selected Wayne County, and we look forward to many years of success for their company and our region," Davis said.

Wayne County commissioners earlier this month held a public hearing on a resolution to begin the process of awarding a grant to the company under the county's incentive grant policy.

The company was not identified at that time since that would normally come later in the process. However, Gettys has confirmed that Stormberg Foods was the company in question.

The grants are in the form of an annual tax rebate for taxes paid by the company over a five-year period.

Once the five years are over, the tax rebate would end, and the county would keep the full tax payment.

Also, if the company fails to meet the promised number of jobs, the county may reduce the payment amount of the grant by 5 percent of the county's current average wage for every job shortfall.

The project has received a One NC Fund grant for $125,000 and a Building Reuse grant of $450,000 was also awarded. Both grants require a local match.

"North Carolina works hard to attract international companies, and they quickly come to appreciate both our friendly business climate and our warm and welcoming people," Cooper said in his announcement. "These new jobs are especially welcome as Wayne County works to recover from the damage of Hurricane Matthew."

The One NC Fund provides financial assistance to local governments to help attract economic investment and to create jobs. Companies receive no money up front and must meet job creation and capital investment targets to qualify for payment.

All One NC grants require a matching grant from local governments, and any award is contingent upon that condition being met.

"Stormberg Foods is the latest international manufacturer to decide North Carolina is the ideal base to reach North American markets," said N.C. Commerce Secretary Anthony M. Copeland. "We welcome them to our state."

N.C. Commerce and the Economic Development Partnership of N.C. were instrumental in supporting the company's location search and final decision.

"North Carolina offers several compelling factors that made our decision relatively simple," said Gary Moorcroft, CEO for Stormberg Foods. "The state's central location on the East Coast provides easy access to markets, a major plus for us. We found the cost of establishing production facilities to be very reasonable.

"Add a stable labor force, with agricultural processing experience, too. The support from the state, city, county and other agencies has been very impressive. These folk simply cannot do enough for you. We are certain we have made an excellent choice in Wayne County and the state of North Carolina."

In addition to North Carolina Commerce and the Economic Partnership of North Carolina, other key partners in the project include the state Department of Agriculture, General Assembly, the North Carolina Community College System, NCEast Alliance, Wayne County, Goldsboro and the Wayne County Development Alliance, Gettys said.