Doing Business in Gaston County
Gaston County, N.C., boasts a 100-year history in manufacturing. Once known as “the yarn-spinning capital of the world” for its thriving textile industry, the county suffered manufacturing losses as textile production moved off shore.
Local officials embarked upon a massive diversification effort to retrain the workforce for new advanced manufacturers.
“We also built a number of business parks and invested heavily in infrastructure, and we began targeting foreign companies to establish operations here,” says Donny Hicks, executive director of the Gaston County Economic Development Commission. “Today, that has resulted in a long line of international investment in manufacturing.”
Recent successes include German specialty chemicals company Lanxess investing $40 million and Spain-based CTL Packaging building a $50 million facility to make squeeze-tube packaging for cosmetics and pharmaceuticals. Israeli company Tosaf invested $17 million to produce resin compounding for the plastics industry and Belgium-based Dhollandia invested $30 million to make hydraulic truck lifts.
In March 2018, Metyx Group from Turkey announced a $12.6 million investment to manufacture textiles for marine, road and rail transportation applications.
“As for American companies investing, Owens Corning built a $130 million facility here to make glass materials that go into about 300 different products,” Hicks says.
The Center for Advanced Manufacturing was constructed at Gaston College to support the industry’s growth.
“The center is training a whole new level of workers in these technical jobs that are being created,” Hicks says. “In addition, the center is also updating training for people already employed who need to learn new machines, processes and equipment.”