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Bigger bunny? Energizer considering $43 million expansion

April 18, 2023

Bigger bunny? Energizer considering $43 million expansion

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