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CMI bringing 53 jobs to Rutherford

FOREST CITY — Rutherford County will soon see 53 new jobs as CMI Enterprises has announced a manufacturing facility that produces trim for cars, buses, RVs and trucks.

CMI is relocating the center from Miami.

“We believe Rutherford County would be an ideal location based on the textile history,” said Michael Novick, CEO of CMI. “The operation would begin ramping up sometime in July, if possible, and would employ about 50 people or more in the next few years. Our initial plan is to relocate two employees here to train local residents to take these jobs.” 

CMI has been in business for 26 years and is a supplier of soft materials — such as leather — to several automotive, nautical and health-care industries. 

“We have already begun posting job openings for them,” said Terry Thomas, assistant manager of the Employment Security Commission office in Forest City. 

“The job title is warehouse staff, and they’re looking to fill eight positions. The listing has a pay rate of $10 to $11 an hour, and we have already had a lot of response.”

In addition to creating the 53 jobs, the company plans to invest $697,000, including lease payments in the county. 

“The county is excited to have CMI locate in Rutherford County,” County Manager John Condrey said. “The job creation is certainly welcomed. We hope that the company is very successful and exceeds the job creation commitment of 53.” The project was made possible in part by a $33,000 grant from the One North Carolina Fund.

“Creating jobs now is my first priority, and North Carolina continues to attract strong, growing manufacturing companies,” Gov. Beverly Perdue said in a statement. “Our skilled workers, custom-training programs and top-rated business climate remain top draws for companies nationwide looking for the best location to succeed.”

Salaries will vary by job function, but the annual average wage for the new jobs will be $22,528, not including benefits. The Rutherford County average annual wage is $26,624.

“CMI is looking forward to becoming a valued member of the Rutherford County community,” Novick said. “As we began searching for a location for our new Southeastern facility, it became apparent that North Carolina, with its long textile heritage, and Rutherford County in particular, was the clear choice for us to carry out our plans to expand domestic manufacturing and help bring jobs back to the U.S.”

Economic incentives discussed in June for the project could total $50,000.

“Certainly, I am pleased to see this job announcement and it is my hope that this is the first of many more to come for the area,” Lt. Gov. Walter Dalton said. “As a Tier 1 county, Rutherford receives the maximum state incentives available, and hopefully these will continue to assist in attracting industry as the national economy rebounds.”

Tom Johnson, Economic Development Commission executive director, explained the incentive agreement for the company is based on jobs and will provide up to $1,000 per job, but the sooner the jobs are created the closer to that $1,000 the company will receive.

“For jobs created between July 1 and June 30, 2011, the incentive is $1,000 per job,” Johnson said. “For July 1, 2011, through June 30, 2012, each job will be worth $666. Jobs created July 1, 2012, through June 30, 2013, will be worth $333 each.”

This is the first time the EDC has used a package that rewards a company for creating jobs sooner rather than later, but Johnson said he was in favor of the strategy.

“Hopefully, this will encourage companies to make jobs sooner rather than later, because we need to make jobs today,” Johnson said. 

He said the textile industry history here is a plus for CMI because the type operation they have is similar to that of textiles.

“They wanted to be in an area where people were already experienced in that,” Johnson said. “This was a good project; it was fun to work, and I enjoyed getting to know them. We look forward to working with them for many years. They’re going to be located at N.C. Highway 120 and U.S. 74. There are two buildings there that are 30,000 square feet each, but they are connected, so it is like one 60,000-square-foot building and there’s room to expand on site.”

Staff writer Scott Baughman contributed to this story.
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