Ekornes Furniture Manufacturers

BDI announced last week that furniture manufacturer Ekornes ASA plans to open their first US manufacturing operation in Burke County. Fifty-eight jobs will be created when operations begin in a 100,000 square foot facility in Morganton.

Ekornes ASA, Scandinavia’s largest furniture manufacturer, plans to open their first US manufacturing operation in Burke County, North Carolina. The company will begin operations in a 100,000 square foot facility in Morganton, creating 58 jobs. Salaries will vary by job function, but the projected average annual wage is $30,464 plus benefits. The company plans to invest $1.3 million.

“Many people have been working on this project for many months and it is a positive testament to all involved to reach this point of formally welcoming Ekornes ASA to Burke County,” said Burke County Commission Chairman Wayne Abele. “Furniture manufacturing has a renowned and established history in Burke County and we will continue to support this industry as one of our target sectors for job creation in Burke County. We are elated that a company of this caliber has chosen Burke County and has entrusted their world class operations to our community. It’s a win-win to welcome another strong corporate entity to Burke County, a region comprised of many skilled and experienced workers in the furniture industry.”

“The City of Morganton is pleased that Ekornes has chosen our community as their first US location. We realize that each and every project is extremely competitive in today’s environment and that we are competing with thousands of other communities every time a project looks at our community. Thus, we are very honored to have Ekornes choose Morganton and we are looking forward to working with them for many years to come,” adds Mayor Mel Cohen.

Ekornes ASA, headquartered in Ikornnes, Norway, has 1600 employees worldwide, most of who work at the 6 factories in Norway. It owns such brand names as Ekornes?, Stressless? and Svane? that are manufactured in Norway and marketed and sold all over the world. According to the Ekornes website, Stressless? is one of the world’s most famous furniture brands.

Mr. ?yvind T?rlen, CEO of Ekornes ASA, states “Ekornes is happy to be calling Burke County its new home in the United States.”

“We are excited to welcome another successful, high end furniture company to our community,” said Mike Watts, Board Chair of Burke Development, Inc.

Burke Development Inc., would like to extend a special thanks for the assistance of Representative Mitch Gillespie, Senator Warren Daniel, and Representative Hugh Blackwell for their support and efforts to make this project a success.

Burke Development Inc. partners that helped make this announcement possible include: North Carolina Rural Economic Development Center, North Carolina Department of Commerce, Burke County Commissioners, City of Morganton, Western Piedmont Community College, Western Piedmont Council of Governments, Committee of 100, Electricities, Red Rock Developments, and NC Employment Security Commission.

For more information about Ekornes, visit www.ekornes.com.

###

Burke Development Incorporated, BDI, is a nonprofit 501c3 organization supported by private and public funding that is charged with accelerating economic growth in Burke County. BDI works with industry leaders, site selection consultants, existing businesses, government agencies and other entities to promote growth, innovation and sustainability in Burke County. For more information about BDI visit www.BurkeDevInc.com.

On May 26, BDI along with Western Piedmont Community College (WPCC), Employment Security Commission (ESC), WorkSource West/VR and Western Piedmont Workforce Development Board teamed up to host an extraordinary event, “Employment: Key Strategies for Getting Hired.” This event was designed to provide job-seekers with tools, resources, and information to assist in obtaining meaningful full time employment in Burke County. “Employers are starting to hire and focused on hiring the best applicants that can contribute and add value to their bottom-line,” states Will Caldwell of Burke County’s ESC. “This event gave those participating job-seekers a competitive advantage over others in the job market.”

Scott Darnell President of BDI stated that, “interestingly less that 1% of the 4,541 unemployed in Burke County attended this event, however, 25% of those attending came from neighboring counties, so we know our marketing efforts were successful. Still as we move forward with events like these, we will continue to focus on encouraging those unemployed or underemployed to take advantage of these great opportunities.”

To view presentations from the event visit www.burkedevinc.com.

###

Burke Development Incorporated, BDI, is a nonprofit 501c3 organization supported by private and public funding that is charged with accelerating economic growth in Burke County. BDI works with industry leaders, site selection consultants, existing businesses, government agencies and other entities to promote growth, innovation and sustainability in Burke County. For more information about BDI visit www.BurkeDevInc.com.

Company Expands in Morganton

Ice River SpringsBURKE COUNTY – Community leaders and local elected officials came together at Ice River Springs for “Celebrate Burke Business.” The event, sponsored by Burke Development Inc, Burke Chamber, Domino’s, and Pepsi, is an opportunity to say “Thank You” and recognize local business leaders and all of their associates for their economic impact on Burke County. A pizza lunch, complete with dessert and drinks was catered in for all four shifts at Ice River Springs.

Ice River Springs, a water bottling plant headquartered in Canada, opened their first US operations in Morganton in 2006. The company has continued to experience steady growth in the marketplace and they are currently expanding their operations in Morganton. City and County officials recently approved a local Economic Development Incentive Grant for this expansion project. The project includes an additional 100,000 square foot warehouse and the hiring of 12 new employees. “We are excited and encouraged by this announcement,” said Burke Development Inc. President, Scott Darnell. “It is wonderful to see our local companies reinvesting in the community, resulting in new jobs for our citizens.”

Ice River Springs is fully committed to be the leading environmental beverage company in North America. “With closed loop recycling now in operation, we are the first beverage company in North America to produce a 100% recycled bottle from self-manufactured resin” states Jamie Gott, CEO of Ice River Springs. The company’s corporate pledge to environmentally friendly processing and recycling is seen clearly through their continuous research and development efforts, as well as their current operations which all indicate a pro-active response and concern for the communities in which they operate. Jenny Hudson, Plant Logistics at Ice River Springs Morganton adds, “Ice River Springs has built a ‘can do’ reputation with our customers that has propelled us forward in the bottled water industry.? We have experienced growth for the past two years and the addition of our new high-speed bottle line in Morganton will help meet demands of that growth.? It is our goal to continue to provide opportunities in Morganton and to build our leadership in this industry.”

For more information about Ice River Springs,
visit www.iceriversprings.com.

###

Burke Development Incorporated, BDI, is a nonprofit 501c3 organization supported by private and public funding that is charged with accelerating economic growth in Burke County. BDI works with industry leaders, site selection consultants, existing businesses, government agencies and other entities to promote growth, innovation and sustainability in Burke County. For more information about BDI visit www.BurkeDevInc.com.

Company Expands in Hildebran

BURKE COUNTY – Geiger International, a manufacturer of premium wood case goods, seating, and occasional furniture for commercial and residential interiors, plans to expand their operation in North Carolina. The company will locate in a 93,000 square foot facility in Hildebran, creating 64 jobs. The projected annual average for all employees is $33,754 plus benefits and the average annual wage for all manufacturing associates is $30,981. The company will be investing $3.5 million over the next 3 years.

“We are excited and encouraged by this announcement,” said Burke County Commission Chairman Wayne Abele. “Many well renowned furniture manufacturers call Burke County home and we continue to support this industry as one of our primary target sectors for job creation in Burke County. It is wonderful to see this strategy result in new jobs for our citizens who have tremendous skills and many years of experience in the furniture industry.”

“The Town of Hildebran is very pleased that this company is coming to town and we look forward to working with them,” adds Town of Hildebran Mayor Karen Robinson.

Geiger International is a subsidiary of Herman Miller, Inc., a globally recognized leader and innovator in furnishings for the office, home, healing, and learning environments. The company’s products are distributed in more than 140 countries and often sold through the architectural and design community. Geiger’s current operation in Catawba County has 24 full-time employees. This project will incorporate this operation in an updated and larger facility in Hildebran.

Geiger’s President, Steve Gane stated, “By establishing new and expanded operations in Hildebran we will create greater operational efficiencies and reduce our costs, enabling us to better serve our customers as we continue to grow our business and create new opportunity for employees.”

“Burke Development, Inc. is excited to welcome another quality company to our community. Herman Miller makes frequent appearances within Fortune magazine’s annual “America’s Most Admired Companies “and “Best Companies to Work For” lists,” which is the type of company we look forward to adding to our corporate community”, said Mike Watts, Board Chair of Burke Development, Inc.

Burke Development Inc., would like to extend a special thanks for the assistance of Representative Mitch Gillespie, Senator Warren Daniel, and Representative Hugh Blackwell for their support and efforts to make this project a success.

Burke Development Inc. partners that helped make this announcement possible include: North Carolina Department of Commerce, Burke County Commissioners, Town of Hildebran, Golden Leaf, Western Piedmont Community College, Western Piedmont Council of Governments, NC Rural Center, Committee of 100, Duke Energy, and NC Employment Security Commission.

For more information about Geiger International, go to www.geigerintl.com.

###

Burke Development Incorporated, BDI, is a nonprofit 501c3 organization supported by private and public funding that is charged with accelerating economic growth in Burke County. BDI works with industry leaders, site selection consultants, existing businesses, government agencies and other entities to promote growth, innovation and sustainability in Burke County. For more information about BDI visit www.BurkeDevInc.com.

Contacts:

Herman Miller / Geiger
Mark Schurman
Director, Corporate Communications
mark_schurman@hermanmiller.com
616-654-5498 OFFICE
616-403-0960 MOBILE

Burke Development Inc.
Scott Darnell
President
scott@burkedevinc.com
828-439-4359 OFFICE
828-764-3295 MOBILE

Burke Development Inc., commonly known as BDI, has been awarded an Economic Innovation Grant in the amount of $75,000.00 from the North Carolina Rural Economic Development Center.

Partnering with the locally owned and operated, Opportunity Threads, BDI submitted an application for the Rural Center’s Economic Innovation Grant. The purpose of this project is multifaceted. “This project was a value added approach to show tangible support to an innovative, creative company that we have already been working with on growth and expansion plans,” acknowledged BDI President, Scott Darnell. Specific goals for this project include retaining current jobs along with providing new jobs, strengthening our local textile industry cluster, and building long term assets for the workforce. In addition, a defining objective has been to document and disseminate worker-ownership as a model for economic strength and revitalization across North Carolina.

Worker-ownership is one of the many strengths of Opportunity Threads (OT). “Our effectiveness and innovation comes from putting the workers at the center through the model of worker-ownership and creating a cost effective business whose assets are rooted and owned by the community and whose practices are sustainable,” states general OT partner Molly Hemstreet. The worker-owned, eco-textile plant started operation in 2008, and has continued to grow and develop into a very sustainable cut and sew operation. The business has grown from 1 original client to over 17 clients from across the region and the United States. All of OT’s clients have some type of environmental focus and most work with organic materials. As well, OT is “green” in itself as all of the equipment has been refurbished and reclaimed from local textile mills that are no longer in operation.

The external support we have received for this project has been tremendous. Matching funds for this project have been committed from a variety of groups within the region totaling $11,500.00 cash and over $75,000.00 in in-kind support.

Expected outcomes and economic impact over the next twelve months include creating five to ten new full time jobs; seven to ten new regional and national contracts for OT; profit sharing for each worker owner; and new worker-owned businesses that could be launched in rural communities across North Carolina.

BDI will continue to bring together partnerships and create opportunities that will provide a competitive economic advantage for Burke County.

###

Burke Development Incorporated, BDI, is a nonprofit 501c3 organization supported by private and public funding that is charged with accelerating economic growth in Burke County. BDI works with industry leaders, site selection consultants, existing businesses, government agencies and other entities to promote growth, innovation and sustainability in Burke County. For more information about BDI visit www.BurkeDevInc.com.

Local company DeFeet International was recently named NC Small Business of the Year by BusinessNC and BDI congratulated them with a Celebrate Burke Business event.

Quarterly BDI, along with the BDI Board and Burke Chamber of Commerce, recognizes a local business with a celebration service known as “Celebrate Burke Business”. “We provide plenty of large Domino’s pizzas, complete with drinks and dessert, for all company employees to congratulate them on their successes and thank them for their commitment to Burke County,” adds Project Manager Misti Humphries.

At the December 21 Celebrate Burke Business event, DeFeet President Shane Cooper addressed his employees thanking them each and everyone for their dedication and diligent efforts. Cooper stated, “Your dedication and hard work have helped fulfill the dreams that Hope (my wife) and I had for this company.” Burke County Commission Chair, Wayne Abele and Hildebran Mayor, Karen Robinson congratulated Cooper and the employees on their recent award and their continued success in Burke County. BDI President Scott Darnell expressed how proud the County is of their accomplishment in being named NC Small Business of the Year.

“This is a great achievement for DeFeet, and also for Burke County,” said Darnell. “The management and staff at DeFeet have worked very hard for this and it is good to see them receive some recognition. It is wonderful to say that Burke County is home to North Carolina’s Small Business of the Year.”

DeFeet received the award, which is given by business magazine BusinessNC and BB&T, on December 9 at an awards luncheon in Winston Salem.

For more on the award and the obstacles that the company has overcome, check out the BusinessNC article.

###

Burke Development Incorporated, BDI, is a nonprofit 501c3 organization supported by private and public funding that is charged with accelerating economic growth in Burke County. BDI works with industry leaders, site selection consultants, existing businesses, government agencies and other entities to promote growth, innovation and sustainability in Burke County. For more information about BDI visit www.BurkeDevInc.com.

October 14, 2010 – Burke Development Incorporated (BDI) recently launched “Celebrate Burke Business” as a way to support and promote existing business and industry in Burke County. A key parameter of BDI’s overall strategy is to partner with existing businesses and industries to ensure continued success and longevity in Burke County. In the past six months, BDI team members have been on the ground meeting with local business leaders and have discovered many success stories and many great reasons to celebrate their achievements and accomplishments!

BDI is partnering with the Burke County Chamber, Domino’s Pizza, and Pepsi to cater in lunch and deliver a short program to say “Thank You” to the business leaders and their associates. On October 12, Michael McNally and Dorothea Jolly from Burke Chamber, Eric Baird of Assurance Sign (maker of banner shown in the picture), as well as Hope Hopkins and Misti Humphries from BDI joined the owners and staff of Catawba Creations for the first “Celebrate Burke Business”.

Catawba Creations has recently gained additional sales and increased their number of employees. Celebrating their 40th year in business, the locally owned company is a complete cut and sew manufacturer with sales in four states and sixteen employees. Their product line includes a full line of cheerleading uniforms and sportswear, camisoles designed for mastectomy patients, and specialty boxer shorts. They have recently added a new account in which they make toboggans and scarves from the leg portion of socks; initial results show that this will continue to be a very popular item and a successful new product line for the company. From all of us in Burke County, THANK YOU Catawba Creations for doing business in Burke County and for making a positive impact on our community!

###

Burke Development Incorporated, BDI, is a nonprofit 501c3 organization supported by private and public funding that is charged with accelerating economic growth in Burke County. BDI works with industry leaders, site selection consultants, existing businesses, government agencies and other entities to promote growth, innovation and sustainability in Burke County. For more information about BDI visit www.BurkeDevInc.com.

Recently, BDI Project Manager Misti Humphries completed an intensive course in sustainability and received certification as an Accredited Professional. The course is an ?industry first? developed in conjunction with the Sustainable Furnishings Council and approved by ranking staff of Rainforest Alliance, World Wildlife Fund and one of the co-founders of USGBC/LEED. The program was written by a LEED Accredited Professional and is designed to pick up where LEED leaves off, focusing specifically on the home furnishing industry.

The coursework provided a ton of detailed information on the environmental issues affecting choices in the furniture industry and the wide range of product options, most of which don’t cost any more than ordinary ones. It’s simply a matter of knowing the right places to look and the right questions to ask. Humphries commented, ?I had no idea how important all of this is, and I look forward to being able to share what I have learned!”

BDI plans to host a one-hour class, “Sustainability Essentials”, to provide a brief overview of the longer certification course and to encourage those employed in the local furniture industry to ?Go Green?. More information on this initiative will be available soon.

###

Burke Development Incorporated, BDI, is a nonprofit 501c3 organization supported by private and public funding that is charged with accelerating economic growth in Burke County. BDI works with industry leaders, site selection consultants, existing businesses, government agencies and other entities to promote growth, innovation and sustainability in Burke County. For more information about BDI visit www.BurkeDevInc.com.

(August 24, 2010) – Burke County is now a “Certified Entrepreneurial Community” (CEC). This is an exceptional honor, as Burke is only the sixth county out of the 23-county Western North Carolina region to receive this designation.

This designation attests to the county’s vibrant and active entrepreneur environment. CEC is administered by AdvantageWest, the regional economic development group for Western North Carolina. Chuck Moseley, team leader of the committee instrumental in this certification, acknowledged that the purpose of the CEC program is to develop a business atmosphere that offers entrepreneurs enhanced resources along with a wide-range support system.

To obtain certification, team members from Burke County completed a rigorous five step process. These steps include assessing the community’s current entrepreneurial landscape, creating a comprehensive strategy for entrepreneurial growth, marshaling the community’s entrepreneurial resources, and identifying and nurturing the community’s most promising entrepreneurial talents.

As a result of this certification process, a key networking group named BeBo, Burke Entrepreneurs & Business Owners, evolved. BeBo provides ongoing networking opportunities. “People already involved or who want to become involved in the business community have a chance to exchange ideas and expertise; this in turn fosters a culture of entrepreneurship,” Moseley said. Quarterly networking events are held at different locations across the county to encourage attendance and participation.

“Burke County led the region in developing this entrepreneurial network,” says Pam Lewis, Senior Vice President of Entrepreneurial Development at AdvantageWest. “One of the keys to success for a CEC is developing ways to connect your entrepreneurs, creating a peer-to-peer network. When entrepreneurs get together they learn from each other’s successes and failures. They form strategic partnerships. It energizes the whole CEC program.”

Achieving the status of a “Certified Entrepreneurial Community” lets the local, regional, and national community know Burke County is entrepreneur-ready! Scott Darnell, President of Burke Development Inc. stated “job growth occurs at different levels in a community, we have to be conscious of those who have the passion and innovation to take an idea and develop it into a business plan. CEC is the venue we have in Burke County to encourage and promote this initiative.”

Sources: Advantage West and Chuck Moseley

###

Burke Development Incorporated, BDI, is a nonprofit 501c3 organization supported by private and public funding that is charged with accelerating economic growth in Burke County. BDI works with industry leaders, site selection consultants, existing businesses, government agencies and other entities to promote growth, innovation and sustainability in Burke County. For more information about BDI visit www.BurkeDevInc.com.