Photo courtesy of Gepetto Kitchens' website.

From the State of North Carolina Office of Gov. Bev Perdue, shared Oct. 28:

RALEIGH – Gov. Bev Perdue today announced that Gourmet Group LLC will acquire the assets of Geppetto Kitchens and expand the manufacturing capacity of the plant. Gourmet Group will continue to produce the Geppetto brand of kitchen cabinets over the next five years. The project is expected to create 136 jobs and the company expects to invest over $2.3 million in the project over the next three years. The project was made possible in part by a $270,000 grant from the One North Carolina Fund.

“My top priority is creating jobs, and today’s announcement is a great example of a company investing in one of North Carolina’s heritage industries,” said Gov. Perdue. “Our terrific business climate and skilled workforce have been instrumental in moving industries like cabinet manufacturing into the future. We welcome Gourmet Group to our state.”

Gourmet Group will undertake aggressive but measured growth of the Geppetto brand through both geographic expansion and new product development. The company will manufacture its own doors and drawer boxes internally, reducing both costs and production lead times. The location in Rutherford County was selected because of the ample labor supply and excellent community college training resources.

Salaries will vary by job function, but the average annual wage for the new jobs will be $34,093 not including benefits. The Rutherford County average annual wage is $28,392.

“We are excited about this project and are impressed with the support we received from Gov. Perdue and the Department of Commerce throughout this process,” said John Wilson, chairman of Gourmet Group. “We had a number of opportunities in other states but the combination of educational resources, financial assistance and a strong labor pool led us to Rutherford County. This grant will allow us to accelerate our development program in support of our cabinetry business.”

The One North Carolina Fund provides financial assistance, through local governments, to attract business projects that will stimulate economic activity and create new jobs in the state. Companies receive no money up front and must meet job creation and investment performance standards to qualify for grant funds. These grants also require and are contingent upon local matches.

North Carolina continues to have a top-ranked business climate. Through Gov. Perdue’s JobsNOW initiative, the state works aggressively to create jobs, train, and retrain its workforce, laying the foundation for a strong and sustainable economic future.

Through the use of the One North Carolina Fund, more than 50,000 jobs and $9 billion in investments have been created since 2001. Other partners that helped with this project include the North Carolina Department of Commerce, North Carolina Community Colleges, Rutherford County Economic Development Commission, Rutherford County, Golden LEAF Foundation and the N.C. Rural (Economic Development) Center.

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Kathleen O'Nan is a contributing reporter to Carolina Public Press.

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