Growing a list of Pender County industry announcements this year, a New York-based bathroom furnishings supplier is set to add another distribution company to the Cape Fear Industrial Complex, officials announced Thursday.
Fine Fixtures Inc. is slated to start operations at an 80,000-square-foot distribution center in Rocky Point, bringing 20 jobs, according to a news release from North Carolina's Southeast. Officials did not disclose the investment amount.
The company began moving into the Cape Fear Industrial Complex space in early November and plans to use the Port of Wilmington, officials said. The company expects to begin shipping from the site as early as later this month.
The 80-acre Cape Fear Industrial Complex consists of five buildings and was previously the site of cosmetics company Coty Inc., which shut down in 2011. It was Pender County's largest employer at the time. The complex was also once occupied by Del Laboratories Inc.
Fine Fixtures adds to another distribution firm at the site. New Jersey-based BlueArrow Warehousing & Logistics LLC
signed a lease for a 100,000-square-foot space at the industrial complex this summer. The company has since started operations.
There are two other tenants at the site Filmwerks International Inc. and Resole Patrol, according to David Barnes, co-owner and manager of Rocky Point Ventures LLC, which owns the Cape Fear Industrial Complex. The property currently has about 180,000 square feet of available existing space and about 40-acres of property available for development, he said. The property also has barge access to the Northeast Cape Fear River.
“We look forward to having Fin Fixtures join us as a corporate resident,” Barnes said in the release, adding that work with local and regional economic development partners and N.C. Ports “is resulting in the arrival of quality tenants, and we look forward to more.”
The company joins a list of other new firms announced this year for Pender County, including Coastal Beverage Co. and FedEx Freight.
Officials said Fine Fixtures, established in 2005, had outgrown warehouses it currently maintains in Brooklyn and New Windsor, New York.
Company officials said they spent a year looking at possible sites in North Carolina and Virginia.
“We wanted to be close to the Port of Wilmington,” Joseph Ostreicher, co-founder and co-owner of Fine Fixtures, said in the release.
“The Port of Wilmington has a quick turn-around,” Ostreicher added. “Truckers don’t have to wait a long time.”
N.C. Ports worked with officials at Wilmington Business Development (WBD) and North Carolina’s Southeast to assist Fine Fixtures in its site search, stated the release.
“Global access is key for Fine Fixtures and many other projects that continue to consider locations in the Cape Fear Region. This investment complements our growth and showcases the port’s ability to service prime importers,” Paul Cozza, executive director of N.C. Ports, said in the release.
The three agencies have been working to attract distribution centers "along the lines that Savannah, Georgia, used in leveraging its container port to lure distribution center operations," officials said in the release.
This "At-Port" distribution model has gained traction in the Wilmington area, said Steve Yost, president of North Carolina's Southeast, in the release. The strategy utilizes the port in connection with other area assets such as transportation amenities and industrial sites and buildings for warehouse and logistics space.
The company's move brings it closer to Southeast markets, officials said. It will use the Port of Wilmington for imported shipments of its products.
Pender County commissioners chairman George Brown welcomed the news of Fine Fixtures while the county continues ongoing recovery efforts almost three months after Hurricane Florence.
“It’s evidence that Pender County is very much open for business and that we remain a prime location for companies seeking global connections and access to growing consumer markets,” Brown said in the release.