ARCHDALE — Archdale has another manufacturing operation coming that should boost jobs in the area.
Axium Packaging, a manufacturer of packaging and containers, will create 118 jobs in Randolph County across a three-year period, according to last week’s announcement from Gov. Roy Cooper’s office. The company will invest $32 million to build a manufacturing facility in Archdale.
“We’re really happy to see it,” Archdale mayor Lewis Dorsett said. “We’ve been working on getting that site ready for more than a year.”
Headquartered in New Albany, Ohio, Axium is a manufacturer of packaging for personal care, household chemical, over-the-counter pharmaceuticals, and food markets.
“Axium’s choice to come to Randolph County and join North Carolina’s manufacturing community underscores our reputation as the best state to do business,” Cooper said in a statement. “We offer many advantages from collaborative workforce training to a well-maintained infrastructure that will help manufacturers thrive.”
Since 2011, the company has grown to 3,000 employees across 18 facilities. The 150,000-square-foot facility in Archdale will be Axium’s first North Carolina site and 19th plant in North America.
This was a deal that was termed “Project Superman” in the recent City of Archdale meeting minutes. City manager Zeb Holden was instrumental in working on the project, Dorsett and Archdale-Trinity Chamber of Commerce president Ashlee Willett said.
Dorsett said collaboration with Randolph County commissioners and the Randolph County Economic Development Corporation, with business recruitment director Crystal Gettys leading the effort, proved critical.
“This has been a huge work in progress for Archdale,” said Willett, who took her position in early January and said the groundwork had been set well before that.
The location is a piece of designated industrial land across from Thomas Built Buses. Dorsett said there had been abandoned residential buildings there in the past.
“I appreciate the collaboration between state and local partners to bring this project to North Carolina,” said Paul Judge, president of Axium Packaging. “We’re grateful for their support throughout the expedited site selection process, which helped us identify the right location for Axium’s expansion. We are excited to begin operating in 2024.”
It’s the second significant positive regarding jobs in Archdale in a matter of months. Late in 2022, Sumitomo Forestry America’s announcement of establishing a manufacturing facility came with the expectation of 129 new jobs.
Dorsett said the key to pulling together the arrangement with Axium Packaging was having the 35-acre site ready for a company to build there. That process began months ago, even without knowing there would be a company willing to occupy the location.
“The reason it moved so quick is that they needed to have a site ready,” Dorsett said. “We’ve been working on that, and we have something ready. That’s the advantage.”
The governor’s office said the annual wage for the new positions would be $7,938, so that’s higher than Randolph County’s overall average wage of about $43,000.
A performance-based grant of $365,000 from the One North Carolina Fund was part of the lure for Axium.
New N.C. Representative Brian Biggs said this is continued momentum for jobs and investment in Randolph County.
“We’re excited to welcome Axium to Archdale,” said N.C. Senator David W. Craven, Jr. “Plastics represents the second-largest manufacturing sector for Randolph County, which provides a booming cluster of plastic producers and manufacturing excellence for the state.”
ARCHDALE — Archdale should receive a boost on the jobs front, with Sumitomo Forestry America establishing a manufacturing facility in the city and other businesses also potentially adding to their workforces.
The investment of $19.5 million should result in the creation of 129 jobs with Sumitomo Forestry based on an announcement from Gov. Roy Cooper’s office last week.
That’s not the only potential boost that could impact the Archdale area.
Officials at Thomas Built Buses in Archdale announced earlier this month that 150 new workers might be needed for the company.
The uptick at Thomas Built Buses comes as the company is reacting to a demand for electrical bus orders from around the country.
With layoffs at United Furniture Industries announced last month, this is an opportunity for many of those displaced workers, according to Thomas Built Buses. There’s a third-shift pay rate of $18.47 per hour for the bus company.
Also, Furnitureland South in Jamestown reportedly has had up to 25 openings in a variety of areas.
Sumitomo Forestry America is a wholly owned subsidiary of Sumitomo Forestry Co., Ltd., a Nikkei-listed forestry company founded in 1691 and headquartered in Tokyo. Based on information from the governor’s office, the company’s project in North Carolina will establish a component manufacturing and distribution facility to produce building materials, such as roof trusses, floor trusses, and wall panels used in residential housing and wooden commercial and multi-family buildings.
“Manufacturing companies find North Carolina’s rural communities offer them an ideal place to grow their businesses,” Cooper said in a statement. “From our superior transportation networks to our skilled workforce, Sumitomo Forestry will find Randolph County will deliver the right ingredients for success.”
Another wholly owned subsidiary of Sumitomo Forestry America, Charlotte-based Crescent Communities, will help develop and build the new production facility.
Although wages for the new jobs will vary depending on position, the average salary will be $45,782, which is above the current average wage in Randolph County of $40,552.
Sumitomo Forestry’s project in North Carolina will be facilitated, in part, by a Job Development Investment Grant approved by the state’s Economic Investment Committee. In the course of 12 years, the project is estimated to grow the state’s economy by $308.3 million.
Because Sumitomo Forestry chose a site in Randolph County, classified by the state’s economic tier system as Tier 2, the company’s JDIG agreement also calls for moving $77,300 into the state’s Industrial Development Fund – Utility Account. The Utility Account helps rural communities across the state finance necessary infrastructure upgrades to attract future business.
Kersey Valley has become a must-visit attraction for many thrill seekers each autumn. (PJ Ward-Brown/Randolph Record)
ARCHDALE – While Kersey Valley’s Spooky Woods has grown to become more technical with special effects, owner Tony Wohlgemuth said he understands the grassroots nature of the themed venue.
Now the Archdale business has gained considerable national attention.
“This particular year, it got picked up a lot,” Wohlgemuth said of listings among the best haunted attractions nationally. “It puts Archdale on the map with a lot of big cities.”
The scene is a fictional town called Kersey Valley. The oldest attraction at Kersey Valley is Spooky Woods, which revolves around Halloween – and the month-plus leading up to that date.
“As we get closer to fall, it gets busier and busier,” office manager Sydney Jones said.
Spooky Woods has landed among national Halloween-themed listings. Hauntworld Magazine listed Spooky Woods as one of the top 13 haunted houses and horror attractions nationally for 2022. That put Archdale on the same list with attractions from Baton Rouge, La., Cincinnati, St. Louis, Salt Lake City, and Seattle.
Kersey Valley has a marketing budget of about $200,000 and can accommodate crowds of Crowds of up to 800 visitors per hour. That means, on some nights, about 4,000 people might venture through the amusement.
The venue is located along the Randolph-Guilford county line. It was annexed into the City of Archdale, with building permits for the site issued through Randolph County.
Kersey Valley is located on a 60-acre farm, with multiple buildings serving as part of the attraction.
“It takes over almost the entire farm,” Wohlgemuth said.
It’s a far cry from the simpler set-up from a few decades ago. Digital lasers and custom-built speakers are used to assist in creating the scene.
“For the thunderstorm, it’s really going to shake your soul,” Wohlgemuth said. “It goes right through you… We keep re-inventing ourselves and finding new ways to innovate.”
Wohlgemuth, 52, is a Southern Guilford High School graduate. He was 15 years old when the idea for Spooky Woods came to fruition. Tickets cost $2 for the first version of the haunted attraction in 1985.
“It was a bunch of teenagers,” he said. “I literally grew up in the business.”
What excites Wohlgemuth is seeing how visits to Spooky Woods have become a tradition for families. Those trips to the farm are passed down through generations.
“They want their kids to experience it,” he said.
Spooky Woods is recommended only for ages 12 and older. It’s a walk-through activity lasting 40 minutes to an hour.
“It’s pretty scary,” Jones said.
The season’s opening comes Saturday night, with the following weekend open just Sept. 30 and Oct. 1. Then it’s Friday through Sunday until the first weekend in November. The hours are 7 p.m.-midnight Friday and Saturday and 7-10 p.m. Sunday. Plus, it’s open on Halloween.
Ticket prices range from $30 (Fridays and Sundays) to $40 (Saturdays). They can be purchased online or at the gate.
After two years of planning during the pandemic, the 2021 Christmas theme at Kersey Valley was deemed successful, Wohlgemuth said. Another version of that is slated in a few months.
Kersey Valley also includes ziplining, laser tag, axe throwing, and other activities.
For now, there’s the build-up to Halloween and the chance to continue to make a mark in terms of haunted attractions.
“Being around this long and doing what we do and having that kind of reputation feels pretty good,” Jones said.
ARCHDALE – Randolph County officials put out a notice about three rabid foxes in Archdale late last week as a precaution, county health director Tara Aker said.
“We don’t know if there’s any relationship with these three cases,” Aker said. “Do we have a group of foxes and they have the same den?”
The foxes have been killed after biting people last month in Archdale, according to information from Randolph County Public Health.
The people bitten have been treated. The cases stemmed from incidents on Fernwood Drive, Kreamer Drive and West White Drive.
Aker said the bites happened within a 4-mile stretch, with two of those close to each other. They occurred within a 30-day window.
“We wanted people to be aware of that,” Aker said. “We just want people to pay attention.”
Usually, the health department doesn’t issue a press release if there are random cases. These incidents might signal a larger problem.
“Only time is going to tell with that,” Aker said.
If residents see a fox, they shouldn’t be overly concerned unless the animal is acting strangely or lingering in a residential setting, Aker said. Foxes are more likely to attack if they’re rapid.
To heighten awareness, Randolph County Animal Services has distributed informational flyers in the area where the fox bites took place.
With three rabid foxes, that’s more than the last two years combined in Randolph County. Aker said for the last reporting year, the only rabies case involved a skunk. The year prior to that, there were five cases – three skunks and two foxes.
In Randolph County, the most common rabies case in recent years involved foxes, skunks and raccoons, she said.
There are ways to reduce the chances of rabid animals coming too close to people. One way is for residents to feed their pets indoors when possible, according to health department information.
Randolph County officials request that citizens report all stray animals to the animal services department.
ARCHDALE — It didn’t take the Wyndham Championship golf tournament this week at nearby Sedgefield Country Club to perk up business for Archdale hotels.
They’ve already been busy.
“It’s the Junior Olympics,” said Abbey Wilmoth, assistant general manager at Holiday Inn Express in Archdale. “It’s special events time.”
While many of the events are based in Guilford County, the overflow of business is crucial for this Randolph County community.
The Amateur Athletic Union’s Junior Olympics are in their second week in Greensboro, concluding this weekend.
“The majority of rooms are for that event,” Fairfield Inn & Suites assistant general manager Kayla Mounts said, noting that the hotel is one of the host hotels for the Junior Olympics.
At Days Inn, Kay Amin oversees the hotel’s operations in Archdale. He said this is the busy summer season, enhanced by the Junior Olympics.
Because the hotel properties are generally full, Amin said the Wyndham Championship wouldn’t be able to impact the volume for the Days Inn. That’s interesting because Days Inn is part of the Wyndham Hotels and Resorts family.
By late last week, room availability for most of this week at the Fairfield Inn was limited.
“I have very, very few rooms left to sell,” Mounts said.
Archdale’s Hampton Inn, which is in the same marketing group as the Holiday Inn Express, also has been near or at capacity. There, some golf-related guests could be present for this weekend.
The location along I-85 is part of the reason for the heavy business for these Archdale properties.
After a couple of years of struggling because of reduced travel by the public and the elimination or reconfiguration of many large-scale events, business has finally returned to pre-pandemic levels for Archdale hotels.
“This is pretty normal for this time of year,” Mounts said. “Our peak season usually starts at the end of March and goes through November.”
Other factors that have boosted occupancy are youth baseball tournaments and High Point University orientation events. It’s about a 10-minute commute to High Point University.
But it’s clear to see what’s driving much of the business this week.
“We have lots of little Junior Olympians running around,” Wilmoth said.
The rates for the Archdale hotels tend to be lower than many Greensboro venues, so overflow business naturally comes this way.
“There’s an influx that’s good for the whole city’s economy,” Wilmoth said.
Officials at the Archdale hotels expect several more weeks of heavy volume. Some of that could reach another peak with the High Point Furniture Market from Oct. 22-26.
ARCHDALE – An at-large spot on the city council will be the only contested race in Archdale’s elections in November.
Incumbent Lorie McCroskey will have a challenge from Kelly Grooms for that position. McCroskey was appointed to the council last summer when there was reshuffling upon the retirement of long-time mayor Bert Stone.
For the other three spots on the ballot, only incumbents entered by the time filing ended Friday.
Mayor Lewis Dorsett, Ward 1 councilman Larry Warlick and Ward 4 councilman John Glass are unopposed.
ARCHDALE — One year into serving as mayor of Archdale, Lewis Dorsett has a new appreciation for how much time the job consumes.
He wants to stay busy doing that.
Dorsett has filed to run for the office of one of Randolph County’s rapidly growing cities.
“My role changed from being a councilman,” Dorsett said. “A lot more meetings. This takes more time, a lot of meetings. There’s a lot of development going on and a lot of potential going on.”
Dorsett said the city’s growth was the biggest issue during the past year. He said the council approved the construction of up to 1,000 townhouses or single-family sites.
“It has just really taken off,” Dorsett said. “The city is just growing, and a lot of folks don’t like that. Archdale is booming and is growing. We’re trying to manage that.”
Archdale has openings for mayor, city council at large, City Council Ward 1, and City Council Ward 4. The Ward 1 incumbent is Larry Warlick, and Ward 4 incumbent is mayor pro tem John Glass.
Dorsett, 66, had been the mayor pro tem. The city council appointed him to fill the remainder of the mayor’s term beginning July 1, 2021, upon the retirement of Bert Stone, who had been the city’s mayor for more than 20 years and either in that seat or on the city council for nearly 30 years.
“Bert was such a mentor for me,” Dorsett said.
Glass held the at-large spot until Dorsett moved to mayor, with Glass shifting to the Ward 4 spot. Lorie McCroskey was appointed to fill the at-large spot.
All incumbents are expected to be on the ballot. Dorsett, Warlick, and McCroskey filed Friday when the filing period opened. Kelly Grooms also filed for the at-large spot on the first day.
Dorsett said the Randolph-Guilford megasite has greatly influenced the city, even as much of the impact might be in its infancy. Archdale is about a 25-minute drive from the megasite.
“The megasite has changed Randolph County, and it’s changing Archdale,” Dorsett said.
Other work that city officials are addressing includes re-writing planning and zoning ordinances, the mayor said.
Dorsett, who graduated from Asheboro High School in 1974, is a retired carpentry teacher from Trinity High School, where he spent more than 20 years. He continues in a part-time role as a driver’s education teacher for the Randolph County School System.
Candidates must file by noon July 15. It’s a two-year term for the mayor and a four-year term for council members.
Archdale extends into a sliver of Guilford County, with about 220 voters eligible in the adjacent county.
A total of 19 rural communities from across the state have been selected to participate in a new program to increase their capacity to plan, implement, and manage economic development programs and opportunities. The Rural Community Capacity (RC2) program, a pilot initiative from the N.C. Commerce Department involving Appalachian State University’s Walker College of Business, welcomed its first cohort of participants in Boone Tuesday.
During an RC2 engagement, communities have direct access to Commerce’s Rural Planning team, who offer additional training and technical assistance to program participants, including a strategic planning process focused on identifying economic development assets and priorities that are specific to each community.
The towns of Archdale and Liberty are among the 19 selected to participate. Communities that successfully complete the RC2 campus curriculum and participate in the Commerce rural planning process will then be eligible to apply for Community Implementation Grants offered by Commerce’s Rural Economic Development Division through the new Rural Transformation Grant Fund.
Malcolm Buchanan of Archdale turned up with the $1 million prize through the North Carolina Lottery.
Buchanan became the second winner of the new sweepstakes.
The 50X The Cash game launched in February with eight top prizes of $1 million. There are six unclaimed prizes in that mix among the $10 scratch-off tickets.
Buchanan purchased his ticket from Speedway on West Fairfield Road in High Point.
Upon claiming his prize, he had to choose between an annuity of $50,000 across 20 years or a lump sum of $600,000. He chose the lump sum, and after required state and federal tax withholdings he had $426,063, according to the NC Lottery.
Meanwhile, a Greensboro woman was the winner of a similar $1 million prize. Licette Griffin, 59, cashed in a $10 Jumbo Bucks ticket that was bought at Gate City Express. She also chose the lump-sum option.