Columbus County's Kroy Building Products to Add 145 Jobs With $15.5 Million Expansion

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FAIR BLUFF - Manufacturing in this town's only industry is expected to explode over the next three years, with 145 new jobs fueled by a $15.5 million investment announced Wednesday for Kroy Building Products.

Kroy is a division of Cary-based Ply Gem Industries, which makes building products.

"Economically, it's truly a game-changer for the entire Fair Bluff area," Columbus County Economic Development Director Gary Lanier said.

The expansion of the facility on U.S. 76 was announced by Gov. Pat McCrory and state Commerce Secretary Sharon Decker.

Kroy opened its Fair Bluff facility in 2001, and by 2004, it had 160 people on the payroll. Economic pressures eroded employment at the plant, which today is closer to 30, Lanier said.

Ply Gem leaders were considering the Fair Bluff plant and another in Virginia for the expansion, Lanier said.

"We pretty much knew that if this did not come to us in North Carolina, we would lose the 30 jobs we had," Lanier said.

McCrory praised the expansion in a news release.

"These new manufacturing jobs are a welcome and necessary step to improving the economy in Columbus County," McCrory said. "It's always encouraging when a great corporate citizen like Ply Gem chooses to expand right here in North Carolina."

Salaries will vary by job, but the average annual salaries for the new jobs will be $45,730, plus benefits. The Columbus County average annual wage is $31,605.

A performance-based grant from the One North Carolina Fund of up to $150,000 was part of a $225,000 grant program for the project, Lanier said.

Proof of job creation and economic investments is required for those grants.

One N.C. Fund projects are used through local governments to attract business projects that stimulate the economy. An equal local match is required, Lanier said.

Half of the local match will come from a separate North Carolina Rural Center Building Reuse and Restoration grant that will be used to improve the Fair Bluff facility, Lanier said. One N.C. regulations will allow $75,000 of the Rural Center's $194,000 grant to count toward the local match, he said.

Other local funds have been informally committed but will require formal action by public bodies, Lanier said.

The Columbus County Board of Commissioners and the town of Fair Bluff have committed $25,000 each to the project, with another $20,000 coming from the Columbus County Committee of 100, a private industry recruiting group.

That left a $5,000 gap to match the One N.C. Fund money, cash that has been promised by North Carolina's Southeast, a regional industry recruiting agency.

"This much-needed expansion will be vital to the continuing effort to provide jobs and economic growth to our area," said state Rep. Ken Waddell.

Ply Gem produces vinyl siding, designer accents and PVC trim, vinyl fencing and vinyl and composite railing, stone veneer, and vinyl windows and doors used in new construction and home repair and remodeling.

 

By Deuce Niven, Correspondent, The Fayetteville Observer