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Easley welcomes boat-lift company to Beaufort County

By Staff
Plant to employ 68 people, most from the area
By NIKIE MAYO
News Editor
A Florida-based company that makes boat lifts is opening a plant in Beaufort County, and Gov. Mike Easley came to Washington on Wednesday to announce the 68 jobs that come with it.
Hi-Tide Sales, a company based in Fort Pierce, Fla., will initially lease some warehouse space in the Beaufort County Skills Center on Page Road. The company plans to build a 40,000-square-foot facility and invest $1 million in the county in the next three years.
The company also makes ladders and floating docks, making it a “prime growth industry” for North Carolina, according to Easley.
Company owner Don Wood is the face behind that notion.
When Wood moved to Bath seven years ago, he had no intention of opening another plant.
But when his company needed to expand recently, Wood said he started looking for a place to accommodate that expansion.
The company will receive a $140,000 grant from the One North Carolina Fund for setting up shop in Beaufort County. The fund exists to provide incentives to help woo businesses to the state.
The average pay for a job at the Beaufort County plant will be $806 weekly, plus benefits. The average weekly salary in Beaufort County is $571. Most of the job openings will be filled by area residents, officials said.
Tom Thompson, the county’s chief economic developer, said the county is grateful for the state’s assistance in helping it bring the plant to Beaufort County.
Company President Chuck Gerber said he was not prepared for the crowd that attended Wednesday’s event, and he took an opportunity to chide the governor.