By Kendal Groner
The upward trend of Erwin’s economic climate continues with last week’s announcement that Old Hickory Buildings and Statesville Barn Company, the nation’s leading manufacturer of residential outbuildings, will be locating its new plant at 1090 S. Industrial Drive in the Riverview Industrial Park in Erwin.
“We’re so excited,” said Tyler Engle, president of the Unicoi County Joint Economic Development Board. “We are very happy to have Old Hickory and Statesville Barn join us here in Unicoi County. The Economic Development Board is glad to partner with companies to help them have the greatest possible degree of success when they choose our community for their project.”
According to a press release issued last week, the company, which has more than 40 manufacturing locations around the county and headquartered in North Carolina, had considered other small communities in Western North Carolina and Southwest Virginia before choosing Erwin.
Engle said the manufacturer expects to invest up to $3 million in property, plant and equipment at the site, while offering 20 jobs in the first year.
“I am excited to bring our business into a community like Erwin,” said John Linder, general manager of the Erwin Plant. “We look forward to providing jobs to hometown people and serving the community and surrounding areas.”
The building that Old Hickory Building and Statesville Barn Company is currently refitting for their needs was previously an engineering shop that has remained vacant for nearly two years following the closure of the CSX rail yard.
“One great thing about Old Hickory, they are not only going to be manufacturing buildings in that location, but also they will have a retail outlet, so their location along I-26 is really perfect,” Engle said.
The onsite retail outlet will sell buildings constructed at the Riverview Site to the general public and serve those in East Tennessee, Western North Carolina, Southwest Virginia and Upstate South Carolina. The site is expected to be fully operational in the fourth quarter of this year, with a formal announcement and ribbon cutting ceremony planned for later this summer.
“We are really excited about the opportunity it’s going to bring,” Engle said. “I think that Unicoi County is definitely in a great place and people are paying much closer attention to us as a destination for manufacturing and businesses.”