Toyota adds another $2B in Randolph County, NC
May 31, 2023
Toyota is adding another $2.1 billion in investment to its vehicle battery plant under construction near Greensboro as the company expands its lineup of all-electric vehicles, including a new three-row SUV model, the company announced Wednesday.
The company said it doesn't yet know the effect on employment. It's roughly the same size of expansion Toyota announced last August and which grew job totals by about 350, but company executives said it's too soon to know exactly how the added capacity will be arrayed to know how many more workers will be needed.
The expansion of the Toyota Battery Manufacturing North Carolina plant under construction near Liberty in northern Randolph County brings total investment there to nearly $6 billion. It’s the second expansion since Toyota first announced its plans in December 2021, but also leaves room for even more growth.
Some of the batteries will go into a new battery-electric SUV model to be assembled at Toyota’s Kentucky assembly and engine plant. It’ll be the world’s largest automaker’s first U.S.-assembled all-battery, three-rows-of-seats sport utility vehicle.
But Sean Suggs, the Toyota executive in charge of the Liberty operation, said the expanded plans aren't just for the new all-electric SUV.
"This investment will be used for expanded infrastructure to support our future growth," Suggs said in a conference call with news organizations Wednesday morning.
"With this new infrastructure, it's getting us ready for what what's to come. We believe that this additional announcement will get us ready for not only the buildings but the equipment and tools and everything that we need. But today we're not ready to announce any additional hiring."
Wednesday’s news follows Toyota’s announcement late last August, part of the company’s overall expansion of vehicle electrification worldwide, that it would expand its plans in Liberty by $2.5 million to a total of $3.8 billion, adding 350 jobs to 2,100 in all. Suggs said his unit has hired about 150 so far locally, and expects to be at 700 by year-end, with hires working from a temporary base of nearly 115,000 square feet the company has subleased on Pinecroft Road in Greensboro.
Toyota expects the expansion to require two new buildings of about a million square feet each to make batteries for all-electric vehicles.
The Liberty factory will be Toyota’s hub for developing and producing lithium-ion batteries for its lineup of electric vehicles. Until now, the company has had only one major production all-battery vehicle, the BZ4X, which is made in Asia.
At Liberty, raw materials will be made into batteries, which will then be shipped, by truck and rail, to Toyota's Georgetown, Kentucky, plant, for assembly into battery packs and put into finished vehicles.
The new SUV is part of Toyota’s expansion of all-electric vehicles. It introduced the first hybrid gasoline-battery vehicle by a major car company to gain widespread acceptance, the Prius, but has fallen behind other companies in all-electric, though Toyota notes it has 22 electrified vehicle models across the Toyota and Lexus brands, more than any automaker.
The company’s top executive team has repeatedly said it is sticking to its mix of hybrids and battery-electric vehicles in part because key battery ingredients, including lithium, will be hard to come by for the foreseeable future, and it can electrify more vehicles by offering hybrids. They also express wariness that an adequate network of charging stations can be built out fast enough to meet consumers’ needs, and that at least for now, all-electric vehicles may still be too expensive for many potential consumers, but hybrids may be more affordable.
Source: Traid Business Journal
Energizer to Expand Operations in Asheboro
May 22, 2023
Energizer Holdings, Inc. has announced that it will grow its production and packaging operations in Asheboro with a commitment to create 178 new jobs and invest $43 million in machinery and equipment.
Bigger bunny? Energizer considering $43 million expansion
April 18, 2023
After 75 years making small batteries in and around Asheboro and Randolph County, Energizer is trying to decide whether to expand or contract its operations.
The maker of household-name Energizer batteries, Energizer Holdings, won unanimous approval Monday evening from Randolph County commissioners and Asheboro’s city council for a $420,000 incentive package to help convince the company to not only stay and keep its current 411 jobs at two sites but also to expand local operations.
If it chooses to expand, it would spend $43 million to upgrade equipment and its manufacturing site and its separate packaging operation, both in Randolph County. It would hire 178 more people at an average annual wage of $54,000 a year, 25.6% higher than the the county average of about $43,000. It would add some $9.5 million new payroll into the local economy.
The proposal had been identified, but the name of the company was revealed publicly by Randolph County Economic Development Corporation President Kevin Franklin at a special joint meeting of both boards Monday evening.
"There will not be an announcement this evening should this be approved by the boards, but it will help aid in their decision- making process of where the operations do expand,” Franklin told commissioners and councilors.
"They're currently reviewing production and packaging operations corporately across the entire corporate footprint and looking at different options to maximize efficiency. All of those corporate facilities are under consideration to either gain or lose equipment as a part of this review.”
Franklin noted that Energizer is not only a household name — its Energizer Bunny advertising mascot was introduced in 1989 — but is also a local legacy employer. Union Carbide began making batteries in the Asheboro area in 1948. Everyready was its main brand, with Energizer introduced in 1980.
The brands went through a few rounds of corporate ownership until it was spun off separately in 2000, and in 2019 Energizer Holdings acquired Rayovac, VARTA, Armor All, STP, and A/C Pro from Spectrum Brands, according to the history section of the company website.
The incentives, paid equally by the county and city, would equate to 50% of the expected increase in local tax revenues for the two jurisdictions over the proposed five-year period from the added value of the company's property. Energizer is also eligible for a state One NC economic-development grant, Franklin added.
The expansion would begin later this year and be implemented over three years, Franklin said. It’s all new equipment without new construction expected.
Commissioners noted the company’s long history and multi-generational employment in the county.
“So many of our citizens have worked there through the years, and families even, and so I'm excited about this opportunity for Energizer first and foremost, but for our Randolph County citizens and for Asheboro,” commissioner Hope Haywood said.
Source: Triad Business Journal
Ohio packaging company Axium confirms it's coming to Archdale
February 28, 2023
Axium Packaging of New Albany, Ohio, is the company planning to invest $36 million and hire 129 workers in Archdale, the Randolph County Economic Development Corporation announced Tuesday.
The maker of blow molding plastic packaging for a range of markets expects to start operations in the first quarter of 2024. Its expected investment includes $15 million in real property and $21 in other property and equipment over five years. The new jobs will pay an average of $47,938.
Archdale and Randolph County have approved incentive packages of $440,613 and $215,885 over five years out of increased tax revenues.
The company had not been named, as is common when manufacturing companies are believed to be considering more than one community.
The Randolph County EDC proposed a 35-acre site at 907 Eden Terrace, with the EDC, county, city and Greensboro developer and builder Samet Corp. had shared in having environmental and engineering preparation complete, according to the agency.
Axium produces packaging for personal care, household chemical, over-the-county pharmaceutical, and food markets. Archdale will be its 19th North American location, according to chief financial officer Ven Bhindwallam.
Axium also was approved for state incentives: $365,000 over three years from the One NC Fund, and $180,000 for customized training by the North Carolina community college system. It also will get a discount on electricity from Duke Energy. The Economic Development Partnership of North Carolina also assisted.
Axium is one of central Ohio’s largest employers. It has 3.5 million square feet of manufacturing space at 18 facilities across the United States, Canada and Mexico. It employs over 3,600 people. In late 2022, it announced an expansion near its headquarters near Columbus.
It was acquired in 2020 by the food-oriented investment organization Cerea Partners, according to S&P Global.
Source: Triad Business Journal
Helping Randolph Rise
February 24, 2023
Feb 15, 2023 by Larry Penkava
ASHEBORO — With Toyota and Wolfspeed developing megasites in the area, local business leaders can’t afford to rest on their laurels.
That was the message on Feb. 7 when the Randolph County Economic Development Corporation held a kickoff campaign for a five-year effort called Randolph Rises: Alive with Opportunities.
Business, government and education officials from all over the county attended the event at Black Powder Smokehouse, 516 S. Fayetteville St., Asheboro. It was an opportunity for owners of the as-yet unopened restaurant to hold a training session, serving attendees prior to the expected March 1 opening.
But as delicious as the food was, the focus on everyone’s mind was building on recent business successes.
As Kevin Franklin, president of the RCEDC, told the assembly, “Randolph is rising, good things are happening and we’re on a lot of people’s radar. There’s a lot more we can do. We’re reliant on local governments (for revenues), but it’s difficult with just one funding source. There’s more we can do together.”
According to a brochure handed out, “Randolph Rises was developed to continue the momentum of growth, a bold new five-year economic initiative.”
The goal is to “assist existing business, grow a skilled workforce and develop new business opportunities.”
While the RCEDC is behind Randolph Rises, the campaign co-chairs are Bob Crumley, an attorney and businessman, and Dr. Robert Shackleford, retired president of Randolph Community College. Shannon Whaples is working with the RCEDC to coordinate efforts to raise $1.1 million in private business investment to advance the five-year strategic plan.
Addressing the audience, Franklin said, “Just over a decade ago, Asheboro was named a dying community by Forbes, and ’60 Minutes’ produced a segment which focused on challenges the community was facing. I’m happy to report that, based on hard work and success over the last 10 years, Asheboro and Randolph County are not dying, but thriving. Since 2013 when I joined the EDC, we have tracked project announcements totaling nearly $4.4 billion in investment and over 5,000 jobs. That doesn’t sound to me like a dying community!
“While we have seen tremendous opportunity, and more on the horizon, this is not the time to sit back and revel in our success,” Franklin continued. “There is much more to be done, and we have put a plan together to pursue some significant economic development goals here in Randolph County.
“Randolph Rises is an effort to partner with the private sector, become less reliant on public sector funding, and collectively move Randolph County forward. We invite the business community to join our efforts to ensure that Randolph County continues to grow and prosper.”
Those efforts combine preparing a diverse workforce, developing land for new industries and connecting with existing businesses to understand them and respond to their needs. Providing the workforce involves the RCEDC being a liaison between industry, educators and the public about manufacturing careers.
To attract and retain industries, Randolph Rises proposes to develop two industrial park sites and three general non-specific sites. Also, a priority is to work with the county and municipalities to identify viable sites and buildings.
As for existing businesses, the goal of Randolph Rises is to maintain connections with them to help them grow and become committed to the community. Surveys show that most new investments and job creation are represented by existing businesses.
During the five years of the project, the aim is to create 1,500 new jobs paying at or above the county average wage. Another goal is to foster $250 million in new capital investment by both existing and new companies.
Franklin said the target of the campaign is to raise $1.5 million during the five years. “We’re well on our way with $755,000,” he said. “We’re not going to fail in reaching the goal.”
Levels of giving are:
— Platinum, more than $75,000.
— Gold, $25,000-$75,000.
— Silver, $5,000-$25,000.
— Bronze, $2,500-$5,000.
Shackleford, noting that “it’s exciting to see how far we’ve come from where we’ve been,” talked about visiting the BMW automotive plant at Spartanburg, SC. He said he saw new communities, new shopping centers and new schools that have been built since the automaker arrived.
Speaking of Toyota and Wolfspeed coming to the region, Shackleford said, “It’s going to revolutionize our community. The future is bright. This county is a great place to live. With unprecedented economic opportunities, it’s a great time to be here.”
But moving forward, he said, will require funding. “We can’t get from here to there with limited money. This is for all of us. We’ll get there together.”
Crumley said, “When I came here 42 years ago, the local economy was textiles, furniture and finance.” Now most of the textile plants are gone and much of the furniture industry has gone overseas. And there is no longer a banking headquarters here.
“But we’re not dying,” Crumley said. “The EDC is reliant on government appropriations. Join us in remaking the economy of the county. Businesses will benefit by growth.”
Source: Randolph Hub