A Canadian rival of Ikea has announced plans for a new furniture factory near Whitsett that seems to dovetail quite well with the hopes which local officials have long entertained for the development of this rural community.
Prepac Manufacturing, a Vancouver-based maker of socalled “ready-to-assemble” or “kit” furniture, has decided to build this new multimilliondollar facility within the Rock Creek Center – an industrial park that lies just beyond Whitsett’s municipal limits.
The company confirmed its plans for this facility on Friday in tandem with a formal announcement from the office of North Carolina’s Governor Roy Cooper. In its announcement, Cooper’s office also revealed that the state has awarded Prepac a Job Development Investment Grant (JDIG) worth up $2,106,000 over 12 years. In return for the state’s largesse, the company is expected to invest $27.1 million in a 260,000-square-foot facility that will ultimately employ at least 201 people.
Shortly before the governor’s announcement, Guilford County’s board of commissioners held a public hearing on the county’s own package of financial incentives for Prepac. The hearing, which took place on Thursday, was followed by a formal vote a day later in which the county’s governing board signed off on $597,286 in grants to induce the company to follow through on its plans. Prepac’s deal with the county requires the company to invest about $26.5 million in the factory’s development.
Brent Christensen, the president of the Greensboro Chamber of Commerce, conceded that Prepac hasn’t officially nailed down a location for this facility, although he noted that the two sites on the company’s short list are both situated within the Rock Creek Center. Christensen added that Prepac’s facility will be a natural addition to Guilford County, which was once famed for its furniture production particularly in the vicinity of High Point.
“This community has long been known for furniture manufacturing,” the chamber’s president said in an interview Tuesday, “and it’s nice to have something come in that will continue that legacy.”
Christensen said that Prepac will narrow down a specific site within the Rock Creek Center in the coming weeks.