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Project Highlander Announcement:


For Immediate Release

BURKE COUNTY, N.C. (April 20, 2022) – North Carolina Governor Roy Cooper’s Office announced funding today to aid in the expansion for Project Highlander in Burke County. The project is set to support Vanguard Furniture Co., Inc. who will locate in a former Drexel Heritage manufacturing facility at 410 Hogan Street in Morganton. Vanguard will create at least 100 new jobs by the end of 2025. New employee salaries will be significantly higher than the average county wage and at least fifty percent of the health insurance premium will be provided.

“This is a great project and we are excited to announce it,” said Mayor of Morganton, Ronnie Thompson.  “We look forward to having them in our community and working with them to make sure they are successful.”

Vanguard Furniture, a family held company, employs over 600 associates and is currently operating out of six manufacturing facilities in Hickory, NC, a 40,000-square-foot showroom in High Point, NC, and a new manufacturing location in Hillsville, VA. Known as a people-oriented company, Vanguard nurtures a strong family atmosphere from the manufacturing floor to the office and throughout the international sales force.

“We are very excited Vanguard Furniture chose to expand into our community,” said Scott Mulwee, Chair of the Burke County Commissioners. “Burke County is committed to creating opportunities for everyone. We welcome this project as it takes steps toward achieving our shared goals for the community.”

With the Governor’s announcement, a $250k One NC Grant has been awarded to renovate and up-fit the building for their needs. A $200k Building Reuse Grant is being considered for the company by the Rural Infrastructure Committee. The City of Morganton was the applicant on the grant and along with Burke County will supply a 5% local match for the pending Building Reuse Grant. In addition, both the City of Morganton and Burke County have approved a local incentive for a period for three years based on the new tax base created by the company.

“Furniture is a large part of our heritage and we appreciate Vanguard’s efforts and the support of North Carolina, the City of Morganton and Burke County for helping them make this possible.” said Alan Wood, President and CEO of Burke Development Inc.  “Being able to show growth by adding new companies to the mix is proof that Burke County has a healthy corporate environment. It is a desirable location for individuals and corporations as they plan for the future.”

Burke Development, Inc. would like to thank all their partners for their efforts on this project including, N.C. Department of Commerce and the Economic Development Partnership of North Carolina. Other key partners in the project include the City of Morganton, Burke County, North Carolina General Assembly, North Carolina Rural Infrastructure Authority, North Carolina Community College System, Western Piedmont Community College and the Western Piedmont Council of Governments.
For the full announcement from the Governor’s office click here.

About Burke Development, Inc.

Burke Development, Inc. (BDI) is a nonprofit 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, government agencies and other entities to facilitate expansion strategies for existing businesses and recruit target industries to Burke County. For more information about BDI visit www.BurkeDevInc.com.



Alan Wood


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