Print
More News

Economic Development Snapshot Of Columbus County

By Christina Haley O'Neal, posted Jun 29, 2018
Economic development initiatives in Columbus County are moving forward with an emphasis on the county’s industrial sites and focusing on various industries, including food processing, aerospace and advanced manufacturing, said Gary Lanier, director of the Columbus County Economic Development Commission (EDC) and Columbus County Planning Board.
 
The county economic development group is continuing recruiting efforts with its local, regional and state partners. The city of Whiteville also has efforts underway to further economic development in the city.
 
Here are some recent highlights.

PROJECTS

• The Columbus County EDC has recruited a company looking to purchase the former Nice Blends building, which was a sweet potato fries plant that’s been shuttered about three years, Lanier said. That company, Southern Belle Organics, an organic berry grower and processor, was awarded a $264,000 grant from the N.C. Rural Infrastructure Authority to help renovate the 59,000-square-foot building in Whiteville. The company plans to relocate some of its processing operations to the facility. The project is expected to create 33 jobs and attract about $674,000 in private investment.
 
“The company has contracts, distribution contracts with some of your major grocery stores,” Lanier said, adding that the company brings potential for the local farming community to “diversify into more, higher-margin products.”
 
• Malec Brothers Transport LLC is seeking to locate a log exporting operation on Cronly Drive in Delco. There has been some public pushback to the proposal because of potential fumigation operations. While Columbus County EDC did not recruit the company, Lanier said, “We’re waiting to see what the state decides as far as air quality permits and the whole fumigation process. But that certainly could create some jobs not only on the site itself but also within the local logging community.”
 
• A major construction company is looking to site a project close to the Southeast Regional Park that could bring as many as 30-35 additional jobs to the county, Lanier said.
 
• There are also some potential developments with a former Georgia- Pacific industrial site in between Whiteville and Chadbourn purchased by R.J. Corman Railroad Group LLC this year for more than $2 million. “There are people evaluating the site as a potential location, but nothing is firm at this point in time,” Lanier said.
 
 • Efforts to bring water and sewer to the International Logistics Park of North Carolina and Mid-Atlantic Industrial Rail Park, two industrial sites at more than 1,000 acres each, are moving forward with engineering design work, Lanier said. The project is being coordinated between Columbus and Brunswick counties, due to the sites’ locations near the county line.

 
CURRENT CAMPAIGNS
 

• The Columbus County EDC is working with its regional partner, North Carolina’s Southeast Regional Economic Development Partnership, to develop an email marketing campaign to help market some of its industrial parks, including its food-certified industrial park, the Southeast Regional Park near Whiteville.
 
• Columbus County has also been a part of the regional marketing campaign, Choose Cape Fear, led by the Wilmington Chamber of Commerce.
 

NEW POSITION COMING

• According to Whiteville officials, the city has submitted an application for the N.C. Main Street program through N.C. Department of Commerce and is partnering with the Whiteville Downtown Development Commission. With that effort the city has opened a position for an economic development planner who would work on business and economic development for downtown as well as facilitate the Main Street program, should Whiteville be selected, officials said
Ico insights

INSIGHTS

SPONSORS' CONTENT
Lyleheadshot2017 1251720228

Community Service PTO Benefits Your Company, as Well as Your Community

JC Lyle - Wilmington Area Rebuilding Ministry
Corey61

The World Needs Ditch Diggers

Corey Lewis - Cape Fear Jobs
Chris coudriet headshot 300x300 10211545555

Increasing Recycling, Reuse and Waste Reduction

Chris Coudriet - New Hanover County Government

Trending News

Ohio Company Acquires Wilmington Based Environmental Consulting Firm

Cece Nunn - Jul 19, 2018

Area Restaurants Earn Wine Spectator Recognition

Jessica Maurer - Jul 18, 2018

New Businesses Open, On The Way To Beau Rivage Marketplace

Cece Nunn - Jul 20, 2018

Airport Terminal Expansion Project Set To Move Forward Ahead Of Schedule

Christina Haley O'Neal - Jul 19, 2018

Local Food Delivery Services React To Uber Eats

Jessica Maurer - Jul 18, 2018

In The Current Issue

Talking Tariffs

As the United States navigates a trade war, some local companies and officials are keeping a close eye on the effects of the country’s trade...


SBA Pilots Streamlined Disaster Lending Program

With hurricane season officially upon us, the U.S. Small Business Administration has announced the launch of a new quick lending program aim...


What’s Next In Local Grocery Wars?

The Cape Fear region is likely to remain a tempting prospect for grocery store chains considering areas for growth, developers say, although...

Book On Business

The 2018 WilmingtonBiz: Book on Business is an annual publication showcasing the Wilmington region as a center of business.

Order Your Copy Today!


Galleries

Videos

2018 Power Breakfast - Dishing on the Restaurant Biz
2018 WilmingtonBiz Expo - Keynote Lunch with Eric Dinenberg, Rouse Properties
2017 Health Care Heroes