Lincoln County business grows in 2011
This was a pretty good year for Lincoln County’s business community, local leaders said.
That’s largely because of investment in infrastructure and roads, as well as work from local groups to promote business and industrial growth.
“It’s been a good year for the chamber,” said Lincolnton-Lincoln County Chamber President Ken Kindley. “We’ve kept our membership up … it’s steadier than it was a couple of years ago.”
Kindley said the county’s location is driving growth.
“We’re surrounded by nice communities. We have Lake Norman. We have better roads now and better infrastructure,” he said.
The N.C. Department of Transportation opened the last leg of the N.C. 16 Bypass in the summer, extending the four-lane highway through Lincoln into Catawba County. The road now provides a direct route to Interstate 485, Interstate 85 and the Charlotte-Douglas International Airport, which is attractive to industries.
Kindley said the chamber welcomed new businesses to Lincoln County this year with a total of 34 grand openings, which he said is fairly strong.
“Years ago we averaged 20-25 grand openings a year. Up until about 2006, we had about 30 each year. In 2007, we had 61 that year,” Kindley said.
He couldn’t say how many businesses closed this year.
The chamber usually deals with small service businesses and retail, while the Lincoln Economic Development Association works to grow industries.
Barry Matherly, executive director of the economic development association, said this was a good year for industry, too.
“It is the best year we have seen in investment in five years,” Matherly wrote in an email.
He reported industries committed to making about $85 million in manufacturing investments, creating about 430 new manufacturing jobs.
Matherly said these businesses announced an investment this year:
• AptarGroup, which will make injection-molded plastics for the food and beverage market. The company announced in May that it will bring about 150 new jobs and invest $53 million in Lincoln County. The factory will be based in the Lincolnton Industrial Park.
• Lincolnton Furniture, which will manufacture locally made furniture. The new start-up venture plans for 120 jobs, paying about $500 per week, and an overall investment of about $2.7 million.
• Main Filter, a filtration company, announced its plans for investment in September. The company hopes to add about 20 new jobs and invest at least $2 million.
• Technical Parts, a supplier for Man Filter, also announced plans to develop in Lincoln County. The company plans to be open by the first quarter of 2012.
The economic development association and the county also received the payment this year for the first plot sold in the Airlie Business Park – a $100,000 land purchase by the Hydac Technology Corp.
Looking to the new year
Matherly said 2012 looks to be a strong year.
“In general, the prospect list for 2012 looks good and is growing. The prospective projects (list) is as large as it has been in several years and some will likely become active projects in Lincoln County,” Matherly said. “Additionally, there are local companies currently being worked with who will likely be expanding in 2012.”
Kindley, with the county chamber of commerce, said that their biggest new project next year will be a quality of life magazine for the county.
“We think that it will help people looking to move here,” Kindley said. The magazine, with 5,000 printed copies, will show what business, schools and recreation are like in Lincoln County.
“It will show why you’d want to put a business here,” he said. “We consider this a big, big project.”