Manufacturing Boosts Wilkes Economy
Leading manufacturers specialize in home improvement, food and advanced materials
PHOTO CREDIT: Wendy Jo O'Barr
The economy in Wilkes County is right on the money, with several types of businesses and industry sectors collectively contributing to the success of the region. Here are some examples:
Tyson Foods Inc. employs 2,600 workers at its chicken processing plant, making it the largest employer in Wilkes County. The company controls both the manufacture of its meat products and their distribution to local stores in order to guarantee optimal freshness and consistency.
Suncrest Farms Country Hams Inc., locally owned, produces meat items such as country hams, pork side meat and pork skins. Suncrest products are found at such major retail outlets as Food Lion, Wal-Mart Supercenter and Publix, to name a few.
Interflex Group is a leading producer of specialty packaging for various markets that include fresh foods, packaged foods and pet products. Interflex employs about 90 residents at its Wilkesboro facility.
Gardner Glass Products Inc. employs about 140 people, and has manufactured glass for the home improvement industry since the late 1960s. Gardner's products include a range of mirror solutions that feature SaftiFirst brand safety glass and Dreamwalls brand glass finishes.
Window World, with corporate headquarters in North Wilkesboro, operates 205 locations across 46 states, making it the largest window replacement company in America. Window World sells a variety of window styles, among them bay, double-hung and sliding windows, in addition to doors, siding and vinyl products.
Founded in North Wilkesboro, Lowe's operates 1,700 superstores and is one of the largest home improvement retail chains in the United States. Today, Wilkes County is home to Lowe's Customer Support Center-East facility.
Louisiana-Pacific Corp. employs nearly 200 people at its Wilkesboro plant, where it manufactures home siding. LP produces a wide range of products for home construction, repair and remodeling applications.
A family-owned business since 1915, Yadkin Valley Motor Co. on Second Street in North Wilkesboro is celebrating its 100th anniversary, and remains the oldest Ford dealership in the Carolinas. Officials with the company credit its commitment to customer service as the company's No. 1 reason for success and longevity.
Worldwide Protective Products manufactures a variety of hand and arm sleeve garments that protect workers in industries such as food processing, automotive and aerospace. The company also produces full-body protective uniforms for the glass and steel industries.
The Northwest North Carolina Advanced Materials Cluster is a partnership between Wilkes Community College and local governments in Wilkes, Ashe and Alleghany counties that promotes economic growth in the advanced manufacturing sector. As a result, WCC today offers several classes and programs related to advanced materials manufacturing.