HAMLET — More than 100 new jobs will be available in Richmond County within the next seven months, local and state leaders announced Tuesday.
RSI Home Products, Inc. will be constructing a manufacturing and distribution plant in the Richmond County Industrial Park, hiring 175 employees when the plant is operational, according to statements from Gov. Pat McCrory’s office and the Richmond County Office of Development.
County officials say the California-based company will also be investing $18.3 million by its scheduled plant opening in September.
“This is good news on many levels for Richmond County,” Kenneth Robinette, chairman of the Richmond County Board of Commissioners, said in a statement. “We have been working with RSI for 10 months and the hard work is finally paying off.”
He said county leaders welcome RSI and look forward to working with the company to make the Richmond plant one of its “premier facilities.”
“I would like to point out had it not been for the Board of Commissioners’ vision 15 years ago to purchase and develop the Richmond County Industrial Park, we would not be making this announcement today,” Robinette added. “Creating jobs and opportunities for our citizens has always been my top priority.”
RSI manufactures kitchen, bath and home storage cabinets for use in residential repair and remodeling and new residential construction markets, with operations in California, Texas and North Carolina.
“Manufacturing leaders continue to choose North Carolina because nothing compares to the great workforce, competitive cost structure and market access they find here,” the governor said in a statement. “RSI Home Products Manufacturing builds off a tradition of quality and innovation that has made it an outstanding fit for our state’s business community.”
The company has been manufacturing its products in the Tar Heel State for more than 20 years and currently operates a 1 million square-foot facility in Lincolnton, which employs more than 700 full-time workers, officials say.
“We are looking forward to significantly expanding our presence in North Carolina with this new 300,000 square-foot manufacturing facility in Richmond County that will be opening later this year,” RSI Chief Operating Officer Jeff Hoeft said in a statement. “We would like to thank the Richmond County Board of Commissioners and county staff for all of their assistance with this project as we were moving through the process.”
According to the governor’s office, the company’s operations in Richmond County will generate nearly $5.5 million in annual payroll impact for the local economy.
Martie Butler, county economic developer, said the average earnings for plant workers will be $31,187 per year.
A project this size, said Commissioner John Garner, will have “a major impact in our community,” providing additional opportunities for the service industry and local businesses, “and we are very happy they are locating in Richmond County.”
RSI’s expansion to Richmond County was made possible in part by a performance-based grant of up to $550,000 from the One North Carolina Fund, which provides financial assistance in support of local governments in creating jobs and attracting economic investment, according to the governor’s office.
Companies receive no money upfront and must meet job creation and capital investment targets to qualify for funds. All One N.C. grants require a local government match.
A $750,000 grant from the Community Development Block Grant program will help ready the company’s new building for operation. The funds are administered by the Rural Economic Development team at N.C. Commerce.
According to County Manager Rick Sago, the county is giving RSI the 42 acres of land for the new facility in the industrial park, next to Big Rock Sports, based on the number of employees and investment.
The county is also offering a tax grant incentive, as well as participating in installing a new access road, water and sewer extensions and a gas line extension, he added.
The estimated tax incentive is $444,690 over a period of five years, Butler said.
She added the facility will be owned by Charlotte-based real estate developer Keith Corp., with RSI having a long-term lease.
“Together with incentives from the state of North Carolina, Richmond County made this project viable with fast-track permitting, infrastructure development, incentives, and its prior commitment to land control and due diligence,” Alan Lewis, industrial partner with the Keith Corp. said in a statement. “We are pleased to be developing another project with RSI Home Products, and we could not be happier that Richmond County was selected.”
Figures released by the N.C. Department of Commerce last month show Richmond County had the 11th-highest unemployment rate in the state in December. Neighboring Scotland County had the fourth-highest rate.
“A brand new state-of-the-art manufacturing facility along with 175 jobs in the coming years is a great boost to Richmond County and our surrounding communities,” Rep. Ken Goodman, D-Richmond, said in a statement.
Republican state Sen. Tom McInnis welcomed RSI to his district and home county and said he looks forward to the company’s presence “for years to come.”
“I commend the great work of our state and local economic development professionals in bringing our residents these job opportunities,” he said.
U.S. Rep. Richard Hudson, R-Concord, also weighed in on the news.
“Today’s jobs announcement is welcome news and further proof that North Carolina continues to be one of the leading states for manufacturing to succeed,” he said in a statement. “I’d like to welcome RSI Home Products to Richmond County and express my gratitude for their strong investment into our community.”
RSI is the second new manufacturer to come to Richmond County in the past 18 months.
State and local officials announced in September of 2014 that Enviva Biomass would bring 80 jobs and a $107 million investment to Richmond County.
Glen Gray, project sponsor for the proposed wood pellet manufacturing sites in Richmond and Sampson counties, told county commissioners last month that construction of the facility should begin later this year, with operations beginning in late 2017.
Enviva has already spent more than $3 million on the project, has cleared the property and has been working with CSX and the N.C. Department of Transportation, he added.
“We’re like a duck in a pond,” Gray said. “Don’t look like we’re doing much, but if you look under the water, there’s a lot going on.”
That metaphor was borrowed by Butler in regards to all the behind-the-scenes work that goes on to bring jobs to the county.
Several companies in Richmond County — Global Packaging, International Textile Group, Plastek and Perdue Foods — have also announced job increases due to expansion within the past year.
“North Carolina’s manufacturing economy continues to lead the Southeast, and the success of companies like RSI Home Products is among the many reasons why,” N.C. Commerce Secretary John Skvarla said in a statement. “Manufacturing now contributes about $90 billion to our state’s GDP and employs nearly 450,000 people.”
A variety of state and local agencies worked together to bring RSI to Richmond County: the N.C. Department of Commerce, Economic Development Partnership of N.C., the N.C. General Assembly, the N.C. Community College System, NCWorks, the N.C. Rural Infrastructure Authority, Richmond County Board of Commissioners and Richmond County Economic Development.
Reach reporter William R. Toler at 910-817-2675 and follow him on Twitter @William_r_toler.