Today, Governor Pat McCrory and N.C. Commerce Secretary Sharon Decker announced that Meherrin River Forest Products, a lumber processor, will locate its operations in Halifax County. The company plans to create 40 jobs and invest more than $1.8 million over the next three years in Weldon.
"Our state has abundant natural resources and this project is a great opportunity for us to use those assets to create jobs," said Governor McCrory. "We welcome Meherrin River Forest Products to Halifax County and wish them continued success in North Carolina."
Meherrin River Forest Products is a producer of hardwood lumber. The company currently operates a production facility in Alberta, VA, about 50 miles from Weldon, NC. Meherrin River plans to acquire and repair the sawmill facility that was once the headquarters for Coastal Lumber.
"North Carolina has the highly-skilled workforce that companies need to be competitive in a global economy," said Sharon Decker, N.C. Secretary of Commerce. "Meherrin River Forest Products' decision to locate in Halifax County will provide employment opportunities for an area that was hit hard by the recession."
Salaries will vary by job function, but the average annual salaries for the new jobs will be $33,843, plus benefits. The Halifax County average annual wage is $29,299.
"We are blessed with the opportunity to partner with the community of Weldon and Halifax County in the restoration of the facility and a portion of the 150 plus jobs previously lost," said Don Bright, President, Meherrin River Forest Products. "This acquisition will allow for us to continue our growth and help meet a growing customer demand for both domestic and export hardwood products. I am confident positive effects will be felt both locally and throughout state. It is time for America to get back to work and North Carolina is a great place to start."
The project was made possible in part by a performance-based grant from the One North Carolina Fund of up to $80,000. The grant is contingent upon proof of job creation and receipt of a local funding match. The One NC Fund provides financial assistance, through local governments, to attract business projects that will stimulate economic activity and create new jobs in the state. Companies receive no money up front and must meet job creation and investment performance standards to qualify for grant funds.
"I am so proud that Halifax County continues to focus on its forestry industry roots and I applaud the work of our economic development team and local leaders for their tireless efforts to keep and attract jobs to Halifax County," said Sen. Angela Bryant.
"This project is a perfect example of the strong collaboration between the State of North Carolina and our local communities in supporting new jobs and investment to North Carolina," said Rep. Michael Wray. "Creating quality jobs is a priority and the 40 new jobs to be created by Meherrin are good news for Halifax County."
Other partners that helped with this project include: the N.C. Department of Commerce, N.C. Community Colleges, Halifax County, Town of Weldon and the Halifax County Economic Development Commission.