Elite Truck to expand in downtown Washington
Published 2:06 pm Friday, June 23, 2023
What once started as a side hustle for Harrison Boyd is now a growing business in downtown Washington.
In 2019, Boyd started Elite Truck Boxes, LLC from his home while working for a generator service company. Through his work, he was able to pinpoint a need for a website where commercial van and truck equipment could be purchased in one, succinct place online. Thus, Elite Truck was born – aiming to provide an “ultimate shopping experience for the modern tradesman.”
Elite Truck ships a wide variety of equipment from either American manufacturers or distributors to customers nationwide.
“There’s no one like us where you can go and get everything you need for all of your trucks, all your vans in one place,” Boyd said.
Boyd left his job to work on building Elite Truck which he said was “scary” at first, but he knew the company’s potential and the large market it would have.
“It was a risk, but we had a lot of confidence in that we could grow it and make it happen,” Boyd said. “It was definitely kind of scary, but it was exciting at the same time, because I was able to jump into full-time and give it 100% whereas before I was just trying to work on it at night around work and that was really hard.”
Boyd said Elite Truck started to grow when he and co-founders, Warren Allen and Brian Sherman were able to give it their full attention.
From the creation of their website and first sale in 2020, Boyd said the company has “ramped up.” In 2021, Elite Truck moved into their first location on Market Street next to the Little Washington Sailing School.
The company’s continued growth is one reason why they are renovating a former Family Dollar location on Market Street.
Earlier this month, Elite Truck was awarded a $200,000 grant from the North Carolina Rural Infrastructure Authority (RIA). This Vacant Building grant under the RIA’s Building Reuse Program will help them repurpose their new, 15,510 sq. ft. facility. According to the RIA, about $1.9 million is expected to be invested in creating 31 new jobs and repurposing the facility.
Allen said a benefit of having Elite Truck in Washington is that it provides employees who can understand and relate to customers. Not to mention “a lower cost of living, but a higher quality of life.” Elite Truck is looking to hire over the next two years as the building is renovated. The “above median jobs” will offer health insurance, Allen said.
Also, Allen said the City of Washington and City Manager Jonathan Russell has been supportive and helpful throughout the process of acquiring the building and grant in addition to Beaufort County Economic Development Director Brad Hufford and Sarah Bernart with Economic Development Partnership of North Carolina.
Bernart is the existing Industry Expansions Manager, Northeast Region for the Partnership. “The EDPNC was excited to partner with Beaufort County Economic Development on this young, entrepreneurial company’s expansion in the Historic District. Elite Truck Boxes’ 31 new employees and $2 million in capital investment into the old Family Dollar store will be a boon to downtown Washington,” she wrote in an email to the Daily News.
According to Bernart, the last economic development announcement since Elite Truck was in October of 2020 when Pamlico Air announced 43 new jobs and $3 million in capital investment in Washington. Pamlico Air was soon purchased by Mann + Hummel of Germany and the company canceled the project. Mann + Hummel’s U.S. headquarters are based in Beaufort County. Prior to Pamlico Air, in November of 2019 Pamlico Yachtworks brought in 207 new jobs to Washington and $12 million in investment.
“This is exactly what this grant was meant for – to bring well paid, good growing employers to the area where it wouldn’t necessarily may be the most cost effective to renovate a building that had been past disrepair,” Allen said. He added that the building is getting a “complete overhaul.”
Allen continued to say there is a “plethora” of office space, though expensive, can be easily rented, but locally, there are no existing technology offices that have lots of space which is why Elite Truck chose to renovate a building. Community support has helped the company “get the ball rolling,” he said.
“It makes me feel good that we’re keeping it here in Washington,” Boyd said, adding that it also feels good knowing that a local group of people were able to help them get the grant.
Allen clarified that Tumble Bee Gym will share half of the building and will continue to rent until they find another space.
Earlier this month, the RIA approved 11 grant requests from local governments totaling more than $4.4 million. The requests are expected to create a total of 383 jobs, 173 of which were previously announced by Governor Roy Cooper. “The public investment in these projects will attract more than $91 million in private investment,” according to the RIA.
“The RIA is supported by the rural economic development team at the North Carolina Department of Commerce. RIA members review and approve funding requests from local communities. Funding comes from a variety of specialized grant and loan programs offered and managed by N.C. Commerce’s Rural Economic Development Division, led by Assistant Secretary for Rural Economic Development Kenny Flowers. Grants support a variety of activities, including infrastructure development, building renovation, expansion and demolition, and site improvements,” the RIA.