A Wisconsin ventilation system supplier plans to invest $10.3 million over five years and add 102 jobs over the next three years at its Kings Mountain plant, local and state officials said Monday.
Greenheck Fan Corp. plans to expand its facility to increase production of commercial kitchen ventilation systems and outdoor rooftop fans. The company, which has 64 local workers, produces fans and ventilators for air handling systems in businesses such as hotels, malls, offices and commercial kitchens.
Greenheck's plans are welcome news in a state where such announcements have been declining lately. The number of expansions and job creation tracked by the N.C. Commerce Department has fallen this year between Jan. 1 and Oct. 13 when compared with the same time last year, although total investment has remained about the same.
There were 83 expansions and 6,695 jobs announced last year, and 51 expansions and 4,897 jobs announced this year, according to the state, with investment both years at about $1.17 billion.
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Why Greenheck is expanding given the current economic climate is a question Kevin Frane, operations manager for the company's N.C. operations, said he gets a lot. Frane said Greenheck has a history of investing in its people and equipment.
He said while sales are down slightly from last year, the company still wants to position itself to capture more of the market.
Greenheck also is getting help on the expansion from state and local incentives.
Cleveland County commissioners are voting this month on a request to provide incentives totaling about $170,000. The money would come in the form of grants after the company pays property taxes over five years, said Kristin Fletcher, assistant vice president of economic development for the Cleveland County Chamber of Commerce.
“We're so excited to have good news in our troubled economy,” she said. The county's most recent unemployment rate stood at 8.8 percent in August, compared with the statewide rate of 6.8 percent.
Another incentive is a $66,000 grant from the One North Carolina Fund, Gov. Mike Easley's office said. The fund provides financial aid through local governments to help attract business projects.
The county also knocked off $225,000 in the cost for land the company purchased in the county business park, Fletcher said. And she said Gardner-Webb University is giving the company $85,000 in tuition credits at the school.
On its Web site, Greenheck said it has annual sales of approximately $500 million and employs more than 2,600 people.