PENDER COUNTY, NC (WECT) – RC Creations, a unit of Brooklyn-based Acme Smoked Fish Corporation, announced Friday that it will construct a 100,000-square foot seafood processing facility in Pender County that will employ 120 workers.
The company expects to invest nearly $30 million in the facility, which will be the first business to locate in Pender Commerce Park located off Highway 421 just north of New Hanover County.
Proximity to the Port of Wilmington helped attract the company to our area, economic developers said during an announcement held Friday morning. RC Creations will use the port to import supplies and export products to buyers oversees.
The company could receive up to $975,000 over 12 years from the state's Job Development Investment Grant (JDIG) program. The payments would be contingent on proof of job creation and other performance requirements, according to the N.C. Department of Commerce.
The company will begin breaking ground Monday, according to Richard Nordt, its vice president of manufacturing.
But even though construction is set to being next week, Pender County commissioners won't vote on an incentive package for the company until the board meets next month.
George Brown, chair of the Pender County board of commissioners, said there is a "gentlemen's agreement" between the county and the company.
He said land in the industrial park will be "more or less given to the company."
"The incentives that have been agreed upon in theory do not become solid until that particular meeting in November, and if it means that we have to go back and forth and renegotiate some things, then that's what we have to do," Brown said.
Pender County contracts with Wilmington Business Development (WBD), a private-nonprofit organization, to attract businesses to the county.
The county will pay the organization $92,000 this year, according to Mickey Duvall, Pender County manager. WBD also has contracts with the City of Wilmington and New Hanover County.
Scott Satterfield, WBD's CEO, said Pender County's contract with his group allows the area to benefit from being tied to Wilmington, the region's business hub.
That association seems to have paid off in today's announcement.
Brown, the vice president of Acme Fish, said he was aware of Wilmington before he started searching for a site, "but Pender County, New Hanover County, it was kind of Greek to me, so to speak. I really had to understanding of how the counties were structured here."
In his remarks during the announcement event, Satterfield said economic development is more challenging than many people think.
"Everybody thinks this is pretty simple work. You know, you've got a nice place to live. You've got great beaches and great schools [and] that's going to encourage a company like this to make a $30 million decision," Satterfield said. "And that plays in it, but you've got to get down in the dirt and you've got to wrestle and you've got to work together, and when you hear the word no, that's when the sell begins."