Elizabethtown, N.C. and Wilmington, N.C. – Fine Fixtures Inc., a New York based supplier of bathroom furnishings, will establish an 80,000-sq.ft. distribution center at the Cape Fear Industrial Complex in Rocky Point. The company plans to employ a 20-person workforce there. The move positions Fine Fixtures nearer southeastern U.S. markets and enables it to utilize the Port of Wilmington for imported shipments of its products.
“We wanted to be close to the Port of Wilmington,” says Joseph Ostreicher, co-founder and co-owner of Fine Fixtures. The company, established in 2005, had outgrown warehouses it currently maintains in Brooklyn and New Windsor, N.Y., which is about 60 miles north of New York City. “The Port of Wilmington has a quick turn-around,” Ostreicher says. “Truckers don’t have to wait a long time.”
Fine Fixtures began moving into the space at Cape Fear Industrial Complex in early November and plans to commence with shipments from the property as early as late December.
“As the capabilities at our Port of Wilmington continue to grow, the at-port model becomes even more attractive to companies focused on logistics and distribution,” says Paul J. Cozza, executive director of the North Carolina State Ports Authority. “Global access is key for Fine Fixtures and many other projects that continue to consider locations in the Cape Fear Region. This investment complements our growth and showcases the port’s ability to service prime importers.”
The State Ports Authority worked closely with officials at Wilmington Business Development (WBD) and North Carolina’s Southeast in assisting Fine Fixtures in its site search. The company, which currently employs 35, spent a year looking at possible sites in Virginia and North Carolina, according to Ostreicher. “Fine Fixtures is a growing global company with a high-quality brand, and it will fit very comfortably in Greater Wilmington’s distribution and logistics sector,” said Scott Satterfield, CEO of Wilmington Business Development (WBD). The region’s transportation assets, labor supply and quality properties have led other companies to Pender County in recent years. “Fine Fixtures joins names like FedEx Freight, Empire Distributors, Blue Arrow and Coastal Beverage Company that are creating jobs here due to our available industrial space, multi-modal transportation systems and well-trained workers.”
In recent years, WBD, NC Ports and NC’s Southeast have worked together to attract distribution centers along the lines that Savannah, Georgia used in leveraging its container port to lure distribution center operations. “Our at-port distribution model has gained a lot of traction,” says Steve Yost, president of NC’s Southeast. The strategy relies on excellent transportation amenities, affordability, and industrial sites and buildings geared toward warehousing and logistics. “It also showcases the power of collaboration between our region’s economic development leaders, all of which are eager to see new jobs created from this high-potential industry cluster.”
The three organizations are also working with economic development counterparts in Brunswick and Columbus counties on a “micro-region” strategy that leverages economic assets and common goals in support of global business recruitment.
Cape Fear Industrial Complex includes five buildings once occupied by Carver Boats, Del Labs and Cody. The 80-acre property features barge access to the Northeast Cape Fear River and is a 10-minute drive from 1-40. “We look forward to having Fine Fixtures join us as a corporate resident,” says David Barnes, co-owner and manager of Rocky Point Ventures LLC, which owns Cape Fear Industrial Complex. “The work of our partners at NC’s Southeast, WBD and the Ports Authority is resulting in the arrival of quality tenants, and we look forward to more,” Barnes says. The property currently has about 180,000 sq. ft. of available space.
Pender County Commission Chairman George Brown calls the arrival of Fine Fixtures “welcome news” to the county at a time when its economy is recovering from the aftermath of Hurricane Florence less than three months ago. “It’s evidence that Pender County is very much open for business and that we remain a prime location for companies seeking global connections and access to growing consumer markets,” Brown says.
“Success continues for Pender County and the overall region because we try to make it easy to do business here, and it’s paying dividends,” says David Williams, a Pender County Commissioner and member of the WBD board of directors. He commends WBD’s staff, membership and fellow board members for the organization’s role in bringing distribution, manufacturing and other businesses to Pender County. “Once again, the way we go to market through WBD works great for us and for other governments.”
The North Carolina State Ports Authority maintains deep-water port complexes in Wilmington and Morehead City, as well as inland terminals in Charlotte and Greensboro, links the state’s consumers, businesses and industry to world markets, and serve as magnets to attract new business and industry to North Carolina. Port activities contribute statewide to more than 87,700 jobs and $678 million each year in state and local tax revenues. For additional information, visit www.ncports.com
Founded in 1956, Wilmington Business Development oversees business recruitment and industrial retention for the City of Wilmington, New Hanover County and Pender County. A private, non-profit organization, WBD supports members, partners and allies through an array of technical expertise, leadership resources and value-added business services. For additional information, visit www.wilmingtonbusinessdevelopment.com
A public-private partnership headquartered in Elizabethtown, N.C., North Carolina’s Southeast links business leaders with county governments in seeking to “provide strong economic development leadership in southeastern North Carolina through innovative marketing and collaborative regional initiatives that will support the creation of new jobs, generate capital investment and secure new business locations.” Member counties include Anson, Bladen, Brunswick, Columbus, Craven, Cumberland, Duplin, Hoke, Lenoir, Montgomery, New Hanover, Moore, Onslow, Pender, Robeson, Sampson, Scotland and Wayne. For additional information, visit www.ncse.org