by Keith Barber

Back-to-back job creation announcements in Randolph

Throughout the campaign season and beyond, Democrats have made a big to-do about how North Carolina has led other states in economic growth, notwithstanding relentless reports of a jobless recovery and voters’ decision to hand the reins of the General Assembly to the Republicans. Still, Gov. Beverly Perdue was able to announce back-to-back job-creation announcements in Randolph County on Nov. 17 and 18.

Ernie Green Industries, an auto parts maker, plans to open a plastic-molding and assembly facility in the former Moll Industries building in Seagrove. The company has pledged to create 96 jobs, paying slightly above the county’s average wage, and invest $1.8 million over the next three years.

The Democratic governor also announced that Minnesota-based Malt- O-Meal will expand its Asheboro oatmeal manufacturing facility by investing $135 million and adding 200 more employees.

Malt-O-Meal is receiving a $350,000 grant from the One North Carolina Fund, while Ernie Green Industries will take away $80,000 from the state economic incentive program.

Retail and service report for High Point and Greensboro

Mall-land in High Point and Greensboro received a light boost with the premiere of a Port Southern Clothing Co. store at Oak Hollow Mall on Nov. 20 and the opening of UPS Store 24-hour business center in the Joseph S. Koury Convention Center near Four Seasons Town Centre. Port Southern Clothing Co. was founded by a handful of High Point University students last year.

High Point excels in distribution and warehousing for third straight year

Expansions Solutions Magazine has bestowed an Award of Excellence on High Point in its distribution and warehousing category for the third year in a row.

Among the attributes the magazine listed in support of its decision is the city’s stra tegic location midway between Miami and Boston, Atlanta and Washington, and Charlotte and the Triangle; the bounty of interstates in the area; and the opening of a third runway earlier this year at Piedmont Triad International Airport; and the new FedEx Mid-Atlantic Hub.

Values-based shopping in the Triad

With the retail season ramping up after Thanksgiving, a regional coalition of chambers of commerce, along with a small volunteer effort in Greensboro, are trying to steer gift shoppers towards values-based decisions in the marketplace.

First, the Greensboro, Winston-Salem and High Point chambers, with the blessings of local governments, are declaring Nov. 27 to be “Small Business Saturday,” and urging consumers to patronize local, independently owned small businesses. The coalition cites research finding that “for every $100 spent in locally owned, independent stores, $68 returns to the community through taxes, payroll and other expenditures.” American Express launched the program in a partnership with New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg.

While unlikely to stimulate the economy, another option will be more sustainable for families on tight budgets than either patronizing local businesses or shopping big-box retailers such as Wal-Mart.

While the Friday after Thanksgiving is typically known as Black Friday because the volume of sales tends to put retailers in the black, a backlash has been ensuing for the past several decades by the name of Buy Nothing Day. In honor of the latter concept, Greensboro resident Kathy Clark is coordinating the Really, Really Free Market at Legitimate Business in the Glenwood neighborhood. A swap meet taken to another level, the market functions through inviting anyone and everyone to bring items they want to give away and also to take what they want. There is no obligation to bring anything or to take anything away, and the event is as much about building community as transacting commerce.