Grant saves jobs

Published 1:26 am Thursday, January 19, 2012

A Canadian yarn manufacturer has received a grant from the N.C. Department of Commerce that will create 90 jobs in Beaufort County over the next three years, Gov. Beverly Perdue announced Wednesday in a press release issued by the department.
Spinrite Services LLC, a manufacturer of craft yarns, will locate some of its operations in Washington and invest $9.1 million over that same time period in the local plant as a result of a $180,000 grant from the One North Carolina Fund, according to the press release.
With headquarters listed in Listowel, Ontario, Sprinrite was established in 1952, primarily as a commercial and craft yarn manufacturing business, according to information provided by the company. Its brands include Bernat Yarns, Lily Sugar’N Cream craft yarns and Patons yarns and patterns.
In December, officials with National Spinning announced that the company had sold certain assets of Caron International to Spinrite. The sale included yarns for hand-knitting and crocheting, latch-hook kits and the Ultimate Sweater Machine.
Workers who were laid off following that acquisition will have a chance to apply for new positions with Spinrite, according to the press release.
Officials with National Spinning were not immediately available to comment on the number of employees who lost jobs during the sale.
Salaries at Spinrite’s new operations will vary by function, but the total payroll for the new jobs will be over $2 million, according to the press release announcing the grant.
“We are very excited about our new opportunity in North Carolina,” said Ryan Newell, president of Spinrite Limited Partnership, in the press release. “The talented workforce in Beaufort County will provide an excellent foundation for further expansion and growth of our business. The One North Carolina Fund incentives were a key component in our decision to choose Washington over other alternatives.”
Beaufort County economic development director Tom Thompson credited work by the local Economic Development Commission, National Spinning President James W. Chesnutt and other local officials with working to persuade Spinrite to keep the jobs in Beaufort County.
“They came here to buy the business, not set up shop in Beaufort County, but we made … the arguments to let the business try to stay,” he said. “What we did was preserve the bulk of the employees there.”
He also said that combining the Caron and Spinrite businesses to create a larger operation “adds stability to the local employees.”
While acknowledging that some employees will lose their jobs as a result of the sale, Thompson said the grant will allow many of the workers to keep their jobs.
“It’s a positive that we kept the ones that we did,” he said. “These were jobs we definitely did not need to lose.”
The One North Carolina Fund provides financial assistance, through local governments, to attract business projects that will stimulate economic activity and create new jobs in the state. Companies receive no money up front and must meet job creation and investment performance standards to qualify for grant funds, according to the commerce department release.
These grants also require and are contingent upon local matches.
Late last year, the Beaufort County Board of Commissioners voted to allocate $90,000 in county funds to match a commerce department grant for the project.
“Creating jobs is my top priority,” Perdue said in the press release. “Spinrite’s expansion is the result of our top-ranked education and workforce training programs and highlights why we need to fund them. Those programs are an essential ingredient in our nationally acclaimed business climate that attracts companies like Spinrite and enables them to thrive.”