A nearly $10 million expansion project at DuBose Strapping Inc., launched following a local push to ensure the growth occurred in Clinton, has now been completed and 24 jobs created — there is 10 more anticipated — for a new plastic strapping production line expected to be up and running in the imminent future.
John Swope, executive director for the Sampson County Economic Development Commission, provided a brief update on the DuBose Strapping expansion project for which both the Sampson County Board of Commissioners and Clinton City Council, along with the N.C. Department of Commerce, agreed to provide incentives last year.
Swope said he had conversations with DuBose officials recently, and was informed the plastic line would be operational very soon.
“Possibly this week or next week, I would think the production line will be up and running. The new plastic strapping production line has been installed in the new building, the approximately 45,000-square-foot facility,” said Swope. “The building and the investment of approximately $9.4 million has been made. They have hired 24 of the 34 people that they’ve committed to. They will be the first-shift staff on this project.”
The expansion will add 34 new jobs at DuBose Strapping’s local facilities, increasing its total employment in Clinton to 137. The production line is expected to bring 25 jobs in the first year and nine in the second year, with average annual wages ranging from $35,000 to $40,000.
In addition to the 45,000-square-foot facility, built at a cost of $900,000, the expansion included outfitting the new facility through the installation of plastic production equipment costing $8.5 million, making up the total investment of $9.4 million. The new operation will be capable of turning out 900 tons of plastic strapping per month.
The DuBose family has been involved in the industry for more than 35 years, with its current facilities established in the Sampson Southeast Business Center in the early 1990s. While the company has long specialized in the production of steel strapping used primarily for industrial applications, such as the lumber industry, plastic will add to its offerings. The new plastic line, similar to the steel line but substituting plastic, will act to meet the trends of the industry and the needs of its customers, DuBose officials said.
At the beginning of 2011, the Clinton-based company was weighing its options between purchasing an existing plastic strapping manufacturing facility in South Carolina or expanding its Clinton operation to include a plastic strapping production line. In an effort to encourage DuBose Strapping to expand in Clinton, local incentives were offered.
In March 2011, at the behest of Swope, the City Council and the Sampson County Board of Commissioners both entered into an agreement under which DuBose would receive incentives for expanding its operations locally. Just two months later, in May 2011, DuBose announced their decision to expand here.
All told, the incentive package totals approximately $370,000 in state and local incentives. The state committed to provide $138,000 from the One North Carolina Fund, administered by the N.C. Department of Commerce, while the $231,453 locally would be made up of $75,685 from the city and $155,768 from the county over the expansion’s first five years.
In essence, the city and county committed to provide DuBose Strapping a “grant back” of 50 percent of the tax revenues to be received from the new $9.4 million in taxable investment. The company would be paid via tax credits in proportions averaging $15,137 by the city and $31,153 by the county over five years.
The revenue generated over the first 10 years is expected to total $321,641 for the county and $156,170 for the city.
Swope said the Sampson County Economic Development would be working with DuBose Strapping in completing the paperwork to have the first draw down from the $138,000 in grant funds offered by the N.C. Department of Commerce. “That’s provided in proportion to the number of jobs created,” Swope noted. “So far, DuBose has created 70 percent of the jobs, so we’ll request 70 percent of those incentive funds.”
As far as the city and county incentives, those would be held off until DuBose Strapping makes its first tax payment on the building and equipment that has been newly purchased and constructed as part of the production line.
“Once they pay that property tax bill,” said Swope, “we’ll work with the Tax Office and get a return check back for the first of the five years that the county and the city are providing incentives.”
Following last year’s expansion announcement, Charles DuBose, president and CEO of DuBose Strapping, Inc., said it was good to be able to grow at home, bringing tax revenue and new jobs in the process.
“Clinton and Sampson County is home. We’re proud to be here and we’re going to stay here,” said DuBose, citing the incentives in making the decision much easier. “In any start-up or expansion, the first few years are the most costly and these financial incentives will help DuBose Strapping remain competitive while incurring these increased costs. DuBose Strapping believes this expansion will position our company to grow our business through this new product line.”
He and son Holden DuBose, vice president of DuBose Strapping, have hinted toward an ongoing effort to continue that growth by adding more lines over the next decade.
“This is just the first phase in our long-term plan for growth,” the company president has said, “which we are happy will now take place in North Carolina.”
Chris Berendt can be reached at 910-592-8137 ext. 121 or via email at email@example.com.