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Archive for August, 2011

Elkamet Expands Facility & Workforce

Elkamet announced plans for expanding their US manufacturing facility in Henderson County on Monday, August 15, 2011.  The company will double the size of their manufacturing facility, and add 10 new jobs to the 44 they currently employ.  The $2 million investment in real property will add another 37,500 square feet to their facility in East Flat Rock. The expansion is a reflection of the growth and diversity in Elkamet’s customer base and increased demands on production.

“Henderson County is fortunate to have Elkamet doing business here and their plans for expansion will have a positive impact on our community,” stated Mike Edney, Chair of the Henderson County Board of Commissioners. Edney said, “These jobs pay strong wages, in excess of the County’s average, and offer health benefits – thanks to Elkamet for continuing to make a constructive impression on our local economy.”

The company located its first North American facility in East Flat Rock in 2006. The German-based company specializes in custom molded plastic containers for the automotive sector. Customers include General Motors, Caterpillar, Ford, Daimler and BMW. A growing customer base and technology advances have led to expansion of the company. Plant Manager, Carsten Erkel has been working closely with Henderson County to make the project come to fruition. “The location, business climate and quality workforce of Henderson County made our decision to locate here in 2006 easy. The continued support we have received since our initial location has made our decision to grow here even easier.”

Kelly Leonard, Board Chair of the Henderson County Partnership for Economic Development remarked, “This expansion is yet another testament to the Partnership’s organizational priority to promote, protect and encourage existing industries.  Elkamet is a friend to Henderson County, and we couldn’t be more happy to see their growth and success in our community.”

The Henderson County Partnership for Economic Development, Inc. is a 501(c)6 organization that works to: retain and attract quality jobs; solicit new business compatible with the assets and values of Henderson County; promote Henderson County’s business image; assist expansion of existing companies; and enhance Henderson County’s overall quality of life.  For more information on the Partnership visit www.strategiclocation.com.  For more information about Elkamet, visit www.elkamet.com

Save the Date: HCPED Annual Dinner

Save the Date! The Henderson County Partnership for Economic Development will be hosting its annual Industrial Appreciation Banquet on Thursday, October 27th.  In addition to a great networking reception, we’ll highlight accomplishments from the previous year, recognize key partners, and have questions answered from a panel of Henderson County’s legislative delegation. Representative David Guice (District 113), Representative Chuck McGrady (District 117), and Senator Tom Apaodaca (District 48, Chairman of Rules and Operations of the Senate) will address questions about North Carolina policy and regulation that impacts the business climate of Henderson County. Attendees will be asked prior to the event to submit questions for consideration.

The Industrial Appreciation Banquet began in 2003 as a way to recognize the contributions of the manufacturing sector in Henderson County as well as thank those that support the efforts of the Partnership. Through the years, the event has developed as a time to not only show appreciation, but also reflect on the activities and successes of the year. Generous sponsorships allow manufacturers, members and elected officials to attend at no cost.  2011 Presenting Sponsors are Duke Energy & PSNC Energy.  Supporting Sponsors are First Citizens Bank, Friday Staffing Services, GE Lighting Solutions and IMOCO.  Limited sponsor opportunities are still available, email brittany@hcped.org if you are interested.

The 2011 dinner will again be held at the Virginia Boone Center located at the Western North Carolina Agricultural Center. A pre-dinner reception will be held at the Ag Center’s newly constructed Davis Event Center. Mark your calendars and be on the lookout for a formal invitation in the coming weeks.

Industry Profile: All-States Medical Supply

The pathway to Marcus and Carolyn Suess’s founding of All-States Medical Supply is a remarkable journey. As young professionals in Tampa, Florida finding quality employment was challenging. In the wake of September 11th many businesses in the area were not hiring. Marcus’ background in International Business and Information Technology was simply not a fit for the business environment. Carolyn was still at the University of South Florida studying to be a nurse. According to national economic indicators, healthcare was – and continues to be – one of the fastest growing sectors in Florida. Under suggestion by Marcus’ father, the Suess family began exploring the possibility of becoming entrepreneurs and starting their own business in the healthcare industry. As a result of the Suess’ perseverance, All-States Medical Supply opened in 2002. The Suess’ took a different view from the start of the company that even though there are many competitors in this industry they were committed to differentiating themselves by providing quality, respectful care that patients would forever remember. The business had its humble beginnings in a small one-bedroom apartment in Tampa, Florida with a staff that consisted solely of Carolyn, Marcus and three lazy cats. Marcus was on the road making deliveries while Carolyn handled paperwork and phone calls in between classes.

After several years of steady growth Marcus, his wife Carolyn and new business partner, Jason De Los Santos moved the business to North Carolina. The ownership team chose Western North Carolina because of a general familiarity with the region and logistics advantages. All-States Medical also valued the intangibles of the region. Quality schools, a reliable workforce and an exceptional mix of culture all played an integral role in the decision-making process.  During the business transition to North Carolina, All-States leased a 9,000 square foot warehouse in Arden. By 2009, the operation had outgrown the Arden facility and the company began to identify potential purchase options in the Asheville Metro area. All-States’ management identified two viable buildings in the region. The first option was located in Arden and the other in Fletcher. Ultimately, the team selected the 22,000 square foot facility located near Brickton Village. According to Marcus, “the 221 Old Hendersonville Road building was an ideal fit. The facility was in great condition and would allow the company the opportunity to grow over time.”  The facility was also in a perfect location between Hendersonville and Asheville with easy access for most of its workforce.

Over the past decade All-States Medical Supply has grown substantially. Each year All-States Medical adds new patients. A year after opening the business, All-States had gained nearly 300 patients. Today the business serves over 10,000 patients and ships between 300-400 packages per day.  Marcus credits much of the success to the business’ patient-centered approach. The business has always favored personal contacts over automation. For example, instead of utilizing an automated telephone system, the company has consistently chosen to have a live representative handle each call. “When a patient calls All-States Medical they are greeted by one of the patient-care staff members, not a pre-recorded message,” said Suess. This one-on-one contact has allowed the company to develop strong relationships with their patients. In fact, many of the business’ patients call the office on a weekly basis just to talk with a familiar voice.

What originally started as a two person operation has now grown to employ 40 full-time employees. All-States Medical continues to hire new personnel and continues to build relationships with institutions like Blue Ridge Community College and the NC Employment Security Commission in an effort to identify and screen potential applicants. Suess stated, “We are very fortunate that we can still have steady growth through all the changes that occur in Medicare, insurance and government regulations. We attribute that to hiring people that have a great attitude and whose main concern is to take exceptional care of the patient.” All-States has adopted Ben Franklin’s saying ‘Doing well by doing good’ as a core value for their company and their employees’ patient-centric approach.