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Norafin Selects Second Home in Henderson County

posted on November 10, 2016

Norafin Industries (Germany) GmbH announced their plans to build their first North American manufacturing facility in Henderson County, NC. Norafin (Americas) Inc. will construct a 75,000 sf building in the Town of Mills River, invest $18,100,000 and create 46 new jobs. The establishment of a North American manufacturing facility will allow Norafin to better serve existing clients, penetrate new markets, and provide a solid platform for continued future growth. The company has maintained a sales presence in Asheville over the past decade.

Norafin was established in 1980 in East Germany, making Mildenau, Germany their headquarters since 1997. Norafin is a leading manufacturer of specialty spunlace nonwovens used in many technical applications. One such application is heat and flame resistance barriers used in protective apparel for firefighters. “When you see the guys going out and attacking the fire, those suits often contain 2-3 layers of Norafin product,” stated André Lang, President of Norafin. Other applications serving industrial, medical, and filtration markets require different, but equally as demanding, performance criteria.

The company began their search for a North American location in March 2016. They explored sites throughout western North Carolina and upstate South Carolina. Following a rezoning to industrial, Norafin focused their interest on a 14-acre parcel on School House Road, just north of the intersection with Banner Farm Road. “We learned that this site reminds them of their home in the Saxony region of Germany – the mountains, the valley and the community,” shared Henderson County Commission Chairman Tommy Thompson.

The company plans to start site work in early 2017, which will be followed by vertical construction. By late 2017, the company will begin hiring, with production expected to begin by mid-2018.

“We are grateful, as always, to have our community and state supporting quality jobs in Henderson County. The Economic Development Partnership of North Carolina went above and beyond to help quantify our cost advantage, which pairs well with our unparalleled quality of life,” shared Will Buie, Chair of the Henderson County Partnership for Economic Development.


To learn more about Norafin, please visit www.norafin.com. For more information about the Henderson County Partnership for Economic Development and its role protecting and building a strong local economy visit www.strategiclocation.com.




Smart Products Relocates to Henderson County, NC

posted on July 14, 2016

Smart Products, Inc. announced plans today to relocate their manufacturing business from the west coast, and create 26 new jobs in Henderson County, NC.  The company is constructing a 30,000 sf building in Mills River that will house their manufacturing, research and design, and executive offices, resulting in a $3.2 million investment.

The company uses injection molding technology and the highest quality assembly processes to produce check valves and pumps that are used in a variety of industry sectors including automotive, food and beverage, and medical.  “Our company is committed to quality. Henderson County and the Town of Mills River have showcased the resources we need to continue producing our product and stay competitive in the industry,” stated company CEO Mark Jernigan.

 “We are pleased that Smart Products has chosen to join our community, and recognizes our workforce concentration and strength in polymers, in addition to a welcoming business environment,” stated Chairman Tommy Thompson of the Henderson County Board of Commissioners.  The project’s location was encouraged through support from Henderson County, the Town of Mills River, and customized training from the NC Community College System, administered by Blue Ridge Community College.  Melissa Smith of the Economic Development Partnership of North Carolina managed the project in cooperation with HCPED.

Newly created positions will include engineering, assembly, shipping, quality and administrative responsibilities.  Hiring for the initial positions will commence in late summer 2016, with employment inquiries handled through Carolina HR Partners.  Interested candidates are encouraged to contact Stephen Murphy at 828-654-6990 x701 or steve@carolinahrpartners.com.

To learn more about Smart Products, please visit www.smartproducts.com. For more information about the Henderson County Partnership for Economic Development and its role in protecting and building a strong local economy, visit www.strategiclocation.com.

Sierra Nevada Earns LEED Platinum

posted on June 20, 2016

Sierra Nevada Brewing Company was awarded Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) Platinum status—the highest level awarded—for its Mills River, North Carolina, brewing facility. This is a prestigious award for Sierra Nevada, long known for its commitment to environmental sustainability and forward-thinking practices.

From the start of construction in 2012, Sierra Nevada’s Mills River brewery was designed to meet minimum Silver LEED status. LEED is a globally recognized rating system for the design and construction of environmentally responsible buildings. The ratings consider a large subset of construction factors including efficiency, water performance, site management, and indoor environmental quality (e.g. low-emitting paints, lighting control and thermal settings.) Throughout construction, Sierra Nevada closely adhered to LEED guidelines, and the North Carolina site is among the best-in-class for breweries. Sierra Nevada took the certification farther than any other brewery has and not only included several buildings on the campus but also the brewing process equipment in their energy calculations.”

The LEED review board looked at several features unique to the Mills River brewery:


Energy Creation and Performance—The Mills River brewery has nearly 2,200 photovoltaic solar panels spread over the warehouse roof and on nine tree-like canopies in the main parking area. Additionally, the brewery uses Capstone Microturbine technology to convert methane biogas captured from their on-site wastewater treatment plant into electricity. Between the solar array and the microturbines, in Mills River Sierra Nevada produces an average of 1 megawatt of AC power on site, enough to power dozens of average American homes.

Water Use, Recovery, and Treatment—A brewery-wide initiative to conserve water has reduced water consumption to only 3.5 barrels of water to make one barrel of beer, a near historic low in the brewing business. Additionally, the Mills River brewery has made storm water runoff, reuse and recovery a priority. The entire brewery site was designed to collect rain water runoff and either repurpose it for use as irrigation and other non-potable water needs or to store and manage runoff through an elaborate system of cisterns, underground storage, sunken gardens and bioswales, all of which lead to a system of plunge pools to further clear sediment before the water reenters the French Broad River system. The front parking areas at the brewery also consist of permeable pavers, which allow rain water to absorb into the ground rather than cascading off and carrying sediment into the French Broad River.

Resource Recovery—The brewery works toward eliminating waste materials through extensive and ambitious recycling and composting programs. Throughout construction, the brewery was able to divert 81% of total waste away from landfills.

Building Efficiency and Indoor Environmental Quality—The construction of the building itself was carefully considered for both efficiency and to counter the energy and noise demands of the brewing environment. Panel-built concrete walls and insulation and energy efficient windows and doors help keep temperatures stable, natural light at a high level, and noise to a minimum.


“We’re very honored and humbled by this certification,” said Sierra Nevada founder Ken Grossman. “We’ve tried to be good stewards of the environment since our earliest days as brewers, and building a second brewery gave us the chance to start with sustainability in mind. Every day, we look at all that we do and we try to find something to improve—no matter how small. Little-by-little they add up to something that we can be very proud of.”

“As we established roots on the East Coast, it was important for us to live up to our commitment to responsible growth, so early on we decided that we would pursue LEED certification for our new brewery” said Sierra Nevada Sustainability Manager Cheri Chastain. “Our design and construction innovations helped with LEED certification, but most of them were things we would have done anyway simply because they were the right things to do. Earning this LEED Platinum certification reinforces those decisions and validates the time our team put into this project, but the real reward is a more sustainable brewery for generations to come.”

The main construction on the Mills River brewery is complete, but the site is not yet done. In the coming months and years, the brewery plans to create outdoor hiking and biking trails, open French Broad River access and unveil an indoor music and events space for visitors to enjoy.

Source: BrewBound

Gaia Herbs Expanding, Hiring

posted on June 8, 2016

Gone are the days when natural foods were relegated to small co-ops and grocery stores. Today, three out of four grocery stores contain organic food, and that sector consistently shows double-digit growth, according to the USDA.

Gaia Herbs, a Brevard- and Mills River-based supplement manufacturer, is growing, too. Wednesday the company announced an expansion that will bring about $5 million in capital investment and dozens of new jobs. It’s already hiring for 25 of those positions.

King said the expansion could be complete within six months, although that figure is an estimate.

“Over the last four years, our company has grown double digits, so it’s been a much-needed expansion to meet demand for our product,” said Todd King, vice president of marketing. “I think the whole natural products industry has grown, but we’ve outpaced the natural products industry.”

King is being modest. The increase in employees actually constitutes triple-digit growth.

In 2012, Gaia Herbs employed 91 people. Today, it boasts 240 jobs and counting. That’s an increase of about 164 percent.

The company stocks its products nationwide in specialty grocers like Earthfare and Whole Foods, and it does a fast trade through online retailers, King said. A professional division stocks health practitioners’ offices.

“We’re by far the No. 1 herbal brand in the United States with a significant – I think we have a 10 point market share lead over our closest competitor,” King said.

The company is headquartered at a 350-acre farm and manufacturing site in Brevard, where the expansion will take place. It has a 60,000-square-foot greenhouse in Mills River. Its creative services are based out of that location, as well.

“We located there to attract more of the arts and creative mentality from Asheville,” King said. “We’re close to Sierra Nevada, and we’re close to I-26. In Brevard, it’s more the farm and manufacturing, and our creative hub is closer to Asheville.”

King said about 30 percent of the herbs the company uses are grown in the Mills River greenhouse or the Brevard farm.

The company will continue to grow as it meets demand for the supplements it makes and creates new products. King said “functional foods” are the next frontier for the business. Functional foods include products like smoothie add-ins and golden milk mix, a turmeric beverage, King said.

The expansion and the equipment that comes with it should allow Gaia Herbs to grow over the next five years, King said.

“There’s going to be consistent solid growth for Transylvania County and the surrounding area for employees based on our current growth trend,” he said

Source: Emily Patrick,  Citizen Times

City Bakery Opens New Production Bakery

posted on May 2, 2016


City Bakery has started construction on a new production bakery in Fletcher, NC. In order to meet the needs and demands of its growing wholesale & retail business, City Bakery will move all of it’s bread production, presently baked in the 60 Biltmore Avenue, Asheville, NC location, to the new facility. Upon completion in early summer, the new bakery will allow for expansion into additional areas of Western North Carolina. City Bakery currently serves numerous local restaurants and grocery stores.

“The increased production space will allow us to broaden our presence in Ingles Markets and meet demand for our growing restaurant customers,” said CIty Bakery General Manager Brian Dennehy. “We are excited to grow our long standing relationship of providing fresh artisan breads and pastries to Asheville and the surrounding areas.”

     ● City Bakery currently serves wholesale bread customers in Asheville, Waynesville,Weaverville, Black Mountain, Arden, Oteen and Candler. Target areas for expansion include Hendersonville, Mills RIver and Fletcher.
● The new bakery is a brand new 3,600 sq. ft. building located at 85 Fletcher Commercial Drive, Fletcher, NC 28732 and should allow for City Bakery to triple its current production.
● For a complete up to date list of customers, click here: http://citybakery.net/breadschedule/

About City Bakery:
City Bakery is an independent, family owned company founded in 1999. We strive to produce high quality, fresh, artisan breads and pastries for our retail and wholesale customers. With two cafes in Asheville and one in Waynesville, we are proud to serve the local community.

2016 Industrial Executives Forum: What is an Unconference?

posted on April 26, 2016

The 2016 Industrial Executives Forum will take place on Thursday, May 12th at Highland Lake Inn’s Grand Ole Hall and is free to all HCPED members and Henderson County manufacturers. Event registration will begin at 7:30am with the program beginning at 8:00am and concluding at 12noon. RSVP at rsvp@hcped.org by May 5th.

What’s the basic idea? Just like any Industrial Executives Forum, we will gather industry, business and local leaders – everyone involved in economic development in Henderson County into one place. While we are proud of our history of success as an organization, we fully expect our work to get harder going forward with challenges with sites and buildings, workforce, infrastructure and diversifying employment sectors. The Henderson County Partnership for Economic Development wants to identify new ideas about where we go from here.  As always, this will be a great opportunity to connect and network with your peers and neighbors in the process. We will not solve all challenges. But we will gain an understanding of what the challenges are, and we may see work groups and strategies forming around the most important challenges. Groups like the Massachusetts Technology Leadership Council have used the unconference process to find and cultivate new ideas in a collaborative setting.

Why “unconference”? This is an unconference, which means that there is no specific schedule of speakers. You are the speakers, you are the contributors. Unconferences are designed to be participator-led, interactive and collaborative. So the more you bring in, the more you (and others) are likely to take away. The day is about learning from and collaborating with other leaders from industry, business and the local community to explore new avenues to support economic development in Henderson County.

That means the detailed agenda is dynamically generated at the start of the conference, by the participants themselves.  Groups form and self-organize around specific topics based on your interest, and your desire to solve emerging problems to help sustain our economy and quality of  life. The only rule is the Law of 2 Feet: If you aren’t learning or contributing where you stand now, use your 2 feet and go somewhere where you can learn or contribute.

Does this really work? Yes, if well facilitated. Unconference and Open Space are well established concepts. There will be two professional facilitators making sure the event is beneficial for everyone involved. How do we capture ideas? Each session has a host (a person who offers to run the session). We will provide a way to document areas of concern, and potential collaborations as well as new ideas for consideration from each group. At the end of the day we will gather everyone and ask each session host to summarize the key outcomes from their session, including key actions.

Agenda: 7:30-8:00 Registration 8:00-8:35 Welcome 8:35-9:00 Explanation of open space, gather ideas and post schedule 9:00-9:45 Open Space Session 1 10:00- 10:45 Open Space Session 2 10:45-11:30 Open Space Session 3 11:30-12:00 Closing circle. Any ideas or collaborations? What are the major outcomes from the day?

Theme of the day: What will best serve Henderson County’s economic development future? What will support sustainable job creation, business opportunity and quality of life for our county?  How can business, government and civic society best collaborate to solve emerging and standing challenges.

To RSVP for the 2016 Industrial Executives Forum, please e-mail rsvp@hcped.org.

This program series is brought to attendees at no cost thanks to support from HCPED Patron Members: Asheville Savings Bank, Blue Ridge Community College, Continental, Cooper Construction Company, Duke Energy, Ferncliff Park, First Citizens Bank, Friday Staffing Services, GE Lighting Solutions, IMOCO, Lassonde Pappas, Morrow Insurance, PSNC Energy, SMARTRAC and the Van Winkle Law Firm, and supporting sponsors AT&T and Carolina Specialties Construction.

Demmel AG to Open 1st US Manufacturing Operation in Henderson County, NC

posted on

Hendersonville, NC – Demmel Inc., the US subsidiary of Demmel AG, a German-based leader in industrial design and identity technology, announced today that they will locate and build their US manufacturing presence in East Flat Rock, NC.  The company will initially locate in a leased building in the Appleland Business Park, while planning and constructing a new facility on 6.5 acres at the former Fairgrounds site.  Demmel Inc. will ultimately produce automotive sillplates and emblems, using metal stamping, printing and injection molding processes. 

The 130-year-old Bavarian company was asked by their customers, South Carolina-based BMW and California based-Tesla Motors, to supply their products locally from a North American location.  50 new jobs will be created over 5 years, and $4 million will be invested in the new building and equipment.  Positions will include assembly technicians, manufacturing engineers, material handlers and others, with hiring slated to begin in summer of 2016.

“We are happy to continue to serve key customers in the North American market with a new strategic location in Henderson County, North Carolina,” said Tobias Holderried, Managing Director of Demmel AG. “Our new home affords access to a qualified and productive workforce, a strong existing presence of automotive component manufacturers in plastics and metals, and easy access to our customers.  Henderson County has great similarities to our home in the mountains of Bavaria, where we have built long-lasting relationships over many generations.”

“We are pleased to welcome Demmel Inc. as the newest corporate citizen to Henderson County,” said Tommy Thompson, Chairman of the Henderson County Board of Commissioners. “Demmel’s products showcase their command of manufacturing in an artistic way, and we will take great pride as these globally-recognized components are made in Henderson County.  We all look forward to Demmel’s positive impact on our economy and community.”

“Henderson County has a heritage in metals and plastics production in the automotive sector, as well as a strong history of attracting German and other European companies,” said Adam Shealy, Chair of the HCPED Board of Directors. “We look forward to seeing their success in our community, and we welcome Demmel Inc. to western North Carolina.”

Successful recruitment projects are born from collaboration, and this project would not have been possible without the Economic Development Partnership of North Carolina, Henderson County, the North Carolina Department of Commerce, the Appalachian Regional Commission, the North Carolina Community College System and Blue Ridge Community College. To learn more about Demmel AG, visit www.demmel.de. For more information about the Henderson County Partnership for Economic Development and its role in protecting and building a strong local economy, visit www.strategiclocation.com.


Dirty Dancing Production HQ Sets Up in Hendersonville

posted on March 17, 2016

The production team and crew for Dirty Dancing’s filming, set production, wardrobe, props and transportation will be based in Hendersonville, North Carolina. The remake will be a three-hour TV movie special, based on the 1987 classic, and will air domestically on ABC.

Principal filming locations will be across western North Carolina, taking place in April and May, with an expected air date in the fall. The project will have a positive economic impact to the local economy through spending over the next few months. An estimated 1,225 jobs including 900 extras, 30 cast members and 225 crew positions will support the project. The movie special will star Abigail Breslin, Debra Messing, Sarah Hyland, Beau ‘Casper’ Smart and Billy Dee Williams.

The production has already started spending in Hendersonville, and cast and crew members will be visible in the community. Hotels and accommodation providers, restaurants, and construction materials businesses are expected to see the most economic impact. City of Hendersonville Mayor Barbara Volk expressed her support for the project, stating, “This community has great sentiment and appreciation for the original Dirty Dancing film, and we are thrilled that they have selected Hendersonville as their home for this production. We are proud that they have chosen to support our community, and our citizens and businesses look forward to supporting them.”

Hendersonville area citizens have a unique opportunity to support and engage in the production as crew, extras and dancers for onscreen roles, and also by providing period vehicles.

Any persons with film industry experience as crew, production assistants, props or set dressing are encouraged to email a resume to dirtydancingmovie2016@gmail.com. Those interested in applying as an extra, are encouraged to send an email that includes two photos (close up and full length), name, age, ethnicity, cell phone number, height, weight, clothing sizes, city and state of residence, and a list of any tattoos or piercings that can be seen in summer attire to ddmoviecasting@gmail.com. Please include in the subject line indication of age, ethnicity, gender, and city and state of residence. Dancers should send the same information as well as dance experience and styles to ddmoviedancers@gmail.com. To submit a period vehicle for use in the film, email a current photo, photo of the owner, year, make, model, a list of dents and damage, owner’s name, phone number, city and state of residence, and vehicle location to ddmoviecars@gmail.com.

Henderson County Welcomes GF Linamar

posted on February 22, 2016

GF Linamar LLC, a joint venture between Georg Fischer AG and Linamar Corporation, announced plans today to create 350 jobs and construct a state-of-the-art aluminum die casting operation in Henderson County, North Carolina. Drawing from both partners’ expertise, the company will produce light-weight powertrain, driveline and structural components for the automotive industry.

“We are very pleased to announce that we have selected Henderson County, North Carolina as the site of GF Linamar LLC,” stated Linda Hasenfratz, CEO of Linamar. “A fantastic workforce and great business environment will drive our success to serve customers in the southern US.”

The company will break ground in Ferncliff Park, strategically located on the Interstate 26 corridor in Western North Carolina’s employment center. $217 million will be invested in building and equipment over seven years, with production scheduled to begin in mid-2017. Over the next five years, 350 new jobs will be created with an average wage of $47,738 per year, resulting in $16.7 million in new annual payroll.

“We appreciate very much the warm welcome and the support from the State of North Carolina and the Henderson County authorities,” commented Yves Serra, CEO of GF. “The location is ideal for us and we look forward to a prosperous future for our joint venture in the US.”

“The investment, wages and the potential to support and partner with our existing industries is incredibly exciting for our community and for the continued strength of our local economy,” said Tommy Thompson, Chairman of the Henderson County Board of Commissioners.

“GF Linamar’s decision to locate in Henderson County further reinforces the fact that leading global companies view Henderson County as a desirable employment destination,” said Adam Shealy, Chair of the HCPED Board of Directors. “A number of dedicated economic development partners worked together very effectively to encourage and facilitate GF Linamar’s location decision, including: the Economic Development Partnership of NC & NC Department of Commerce, Henderson County, NC Community College System & Blue Ridge Community College, Golden LEAF Foundation, Town of Mills River and Duke Energy.”

For more information on the Henderson County Partnership for Economic Development and its role in protecting and building a strong local economy, visit www.strategiclocation.com.

Wingate University Singers: March 12

posted on February 9, 2016

Wingate University Singers presents
A Concert to Benefit The Free Clinics of Hendersonville
Saturday, March 12th at 7:00 pm

A concert in Hendersonville by the Wingate University Singers and Chamber Choir will benefit The Free Clinics of Hendersonville.

The vocal ensemble will perform:

Saturday, March 12 at 7 p.m.
Immaculate Conception Church
208 7th Avenue West in downtown Hendersonville

There is no admission charge but donations will be accepted at the concert to help fund The Free Clinics. The nonprofit clinics rely on private contributions to provide a range of health care for people who have low incomes or do not have medical insurance.

Dr. Kenney Potter, chair of the Wingate University Music Department and director of choral activities, will conduct the 36 vocalists. The concert will feature a varied repertoire ranging from Monteverdi and J. S. Bach to South African folksongs.