Come to Davie County.
Ashley Furniture is hiring. Gildan is hiring. Avgol is hiring.
And with the county’s unemployment rate at 4.3%, local companies are reversing past trends and hiring workers from beyond Davie County.
That’s right. Davie County – long a bedroom community for jobs outside of the county – is becoming the place to come to get a job.
Terry Bralley, president of the Davie County Economic Development Commission, says that despite the lack of available workers, interest remains strong among businesses hoping to expand or locate here.
He’s working on recruiting jobs with higher than average pay for this area, and companies are beginning to realize that to get the best workers, higher wages may be necessary.
“Hopefully, they’ll put benefits together, a better package and reach out to a larger area,” Bralley said. “We’re recruiting people from other locations. Most people who want to work and who can work can find a job,” he said.
Bralley said Davie County is still in a good position to recruit business.
And as Wake Forest Baptist Davie Medical Center opens the in-bed facility later this year, he expects that area on NC 801 just off I-40 to be a hotbed of retail and commercial growth.
Economic development is working on a strategic plan to recruit higher-paying jobs, he said.
“It’s a different world and it’s changing rapidly,” he said. “We’re in a good position – a good location next door to an urban area.”
Davie is a prime location for transportation-related companies, with easy access to major highways, airports and ports. Manufacturing and distribution companies continue to show the most interest in Davie.
What do companies want when looking for a new location? A building, ready to move in, that meets all of their needs. When do they want it? Now.
“Nothing ever appears to happen quickly, but having a building is key,” Bralley said. “We’re doing better than most.”
Thanks to Hollingsworth Companies, which operates SouthPoint Business Park off US 601 North in Mocksville, Davie County is in a better position than most. Hollingsworth maintains ready to move into buildings, and a recent effort between economic development, Mocksville, Davie County and the state, 85 more acres will become available in that business park.
Companies looking for a new location look all over, Bralley said. Davie, when in contention, usually competes with other North Carolina counties as well as areas in several other states.
Last year didn’t see a lot of new starts, but Davie companies are doing well and expanding, Bralley said.
REEB Millwork on Bethel Church Road in Mocksville added 10 jobs, and renovated the building. The company custom-manufactures and distributes millwork products such as entry doors, interior doors, columns and accessory stairs across the eastern United States. It employs 110 people here.
Sabeti Wain Aerospace continues to grow at its space on US 64 West at Valley Road in Mocksville. Sabeti Wain makes airline seat covers for Southwest Airlines and others at the local site.
Triple J Manor House opened last year in Mocksville, giving local folks a place to have large gatherings, including weddings and receptions. Originally built in the early 1800s for Benjamin F. Holton, the farmhouse was transformed by the Junker family into a 6,000-square-foot venue.
Comfort Bilt Windows and Doors also had a good year, hiring more workers at its plant in SouthPoint. “I don’t know that the community knows that we are here, what we do, or how much opportunity we have to offer,” said Michael Barron, plant manager. “We are proud of the fact that we’ve never had a layoff, even during the recession.” It was the first business in SouthPoint, opening in 1999.
Gesipa Fasteners, also in SouthPoint, created 16 new jobs last year. The company traditionally makes rivets and riveting systems, but has expanded to offer custom products for its customers. “The new equipment we are buying will allow us to do research and development as well as custom production right on site,” said Mark Grigg, plant manager. “We are equipped to make whatever fastener a company might need.”
Shelba D. Johnson Trucking opened a location in an old industrial site off Milling Road last year. The company is a major player in the furniture transportation industry. The company hired eight warehouse workers for the 168,820-square-foot building, and hopes to double the number of employees in coming months.
Economic development, the county, chamber of commerce and towns here collaborated for a retail study by Retail Coach last year – a study that will help recruit retail businesses that could be successful, Bralley said.
“Our goal is to recruit more retail, restaurants and entertainment to Davie County to offer our residents more opportunities to buy clothing, electronics or whatever they need locally; to retain the businesses and restaurants already here; and to keep our current shopping centers and districts vibrant while developing new centers,” Bralley said.