An existing business will be calling Elkin its new company headquarters after the town was awarded a $125,000 grant to help renovate a building for its use.
The North Carolina Rural Infrastructure Authority (RIA) approved 21 grant requests of nearly $7 million last week, and the grant for the former Chatham Plant 4 building along East Main Street/N.C. 268 Business was one of those approved.
The 19,500-square-foot building has been vacant for three years and was owned by Surrey Bank & Trust prior to its purchase by ACC Coatings out of New Jersey. The company manufactures water-based, food-grade liquid coatings for direct food contact applications, such as antifog applications inside of premade-salad bags found in grocery stores, explained Leslie Schlender, director for economic development for Elkin.
ACC Coatings, which was established in 2005, plans to move its entire operation from Middlesex, New Jersey, to Elkin, which will create 10 jobs and be an investment of $1,059,641, according to a release from the Surry County Economic Development Partnership.
The $125,000 grant is part of the RIA’s Building Reuse Program, said Schlender, who completed the grant application on behalf of the town and ACC Coatings. The funding will be put toward a total renovation project of about $400,000 to get the building, which sits just to the east of the entrance to Chatham Park, ready for use.
“It’s a wonderful program the town has been successful in using,” Schlender said, noting that other Elkin projects have included Prism Medical Products, Pittsburgh Glass Works (now Vitro) and Burchette & Burchette Hardwood.
About 80 percent of its existing employees will relocate with the company to Elkin, bringing ACC Coatings closer to some of its customers, Schlender said. “They told us the cost of doing business in North Carolina was attractive to them,” she said of another reason for the relocation.
There is a need for good housing for the relocating employees, she said, both for professional apartments and homes for purchase.
“From the start, David Steele [ACC Coatings CEO] and his team have been wonderful to work with, and given their frequent trips down from New Jersey in this transition, are already becoming welcomed and involved members of our community,” Schlender said.
Elkin Mayor Sam Bishop said, “ACC Coatings is a great fit for this building, and we are thrilled they have seen what we know, that the cost of living, quality of life amenities and the access we have to the I-77 shipping corridor, that Elkin is a great place.”
Schlender said as the company transitions, it will be operating out of its New Jersey location and its Elkin location to ensure a seamless shift for its customer base, and that it could take up to a year for the full move to take place.
“We are very excited that ACC Coatings is opening a new location in Elkin in the former Basalt Products building,” said Todd Tucker, president of the Surry County Economic Development Partnership. “We have worked with the Economic Development Partnership of North Carolina, the North Carolina Department of Commerce, Surry County, Surrey Bank and the town of Elkin to help them with this new location.
“Surry County is a great location for companies, and we are glad that we could be a part of this important project.”
Schlender said, “ACC Coatings are a perfect example of how a professional company can move to a rural community and be successful.”
Also, she said she is excited because this project has jobs with it. Some of the other companies who looked at purchasing the building had planned on using it for commercial storage.
The town will benefit in another way, as ACC Coatings is working with town officials to ensure an easement for the driveway into Chatham Park and to a future entrance for a planned RV park on adjacent property along the Yadkin River, Schlender said.
“ACC Coatings spent many months searching for the optimal location for our growing company,” said Steele in the news release. “Surry County, and in particular Elkin, offered to my company an excellent combination of building size, and location and price that was better than all of the other potential sites that we evaluated.
“Our customers are spread throughout the United States and the convenience of the interstate highways just minutes from the building provide us with multiple shipping options that will help us keep our shipping costs under control, and will also insure a steady and seamless supply of our incoming raw materials used in the production of food-grade coatings,” he said. “Surry County is a great location for companies, and we are glad that we could be a part of this important project.”
Steele commented on the “added and unexpected bonus” of a “warm and welcoming reception we have experienced from the town of Elkin and the local people and businesses. All of these people have shared their own positive experiences in setting up their small businesses, and they have welcomed us into their community.”
While thanking all of the partner organizations in making the grant and project successful, Steele in particular noted the helpfulness of Tucker and Schlender for “their help, advice, guidance (and patience) in helping me get this deal completed.”