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Jackson's director of economic development announces business expansions and grant opportunities


By Kristin Fox

During the final 2022 business session of the Jackson County Board of Commissioners, Tiffany Henry, Director of Economic Development, presented the council with “good news” regarding the expansion of two Jackson County businesses, American Sewing Corporation. and Innovation Brewing.

In December, Henry officially learned that American Sewing Corporation had received a grant to expand its existing manufacturing facility. The North Carolina Department of Commerce awarded the textile manufacturer a $60,000 grant for a 12,000 square foot expansion of its facilities on Harold Street.

The grant will help the company create a total of 36 jobs for local employees. Twelve of these positions will be permanent full-time jobs directly tied to the grant due to salary and benefits requirements. New jobs will pay an average of $18 an hour plus benefits.

American Sewing Corporation is a full-service manufacturing company that “provides premium manufacturing services, including initial in-house design and engineering review capabilities to turn ideas and concepts into tangible prototypes and final products” . The company has the capabilities to assemble and complete projects at any stage. American Sewing Corporation is proud to be an American company specializing in the cutting and sewing of textile products made in the United States.

“We are really excited about this opportunity for American Sewing Corporation and Jackson County,” said Henry. “The company’s expansion of its facilities will represent a $2 million investment in Jackson County.”

“This is the first building reuse grant we have received in Jackson County; the grant required a matching $3,000 from the county,” Henry said. “We worked closely with the North Carolina Economic Development Partnership throughout the grant application process.”

In December, the county completed the sale of the Tuskasegee Mills building to Innovation Brewing, making it possible to expand the brewery’s production. The former manufacturing building on Scotts Creek Road, just past the health department, will provide an additional 100,000 square feet for the brewery. Innovation Brewing will move its production to the space, adding 22 more jobs in Jackson County.

Innovation Brewery has been in business in Jackson County for over nine years. Currently, the company has three locations: the original dining facility and production facility in downtown Sylva, the Innovation Station in downtown Dillsboro, and InnoWhee, the on-campus dining facility. from Western Carolina University.

“The Innovation Brewery expansion will represent a $3 million investment in Jackson County,” Henry said. “The property belonged to the county, so it will be back on the tax record.”

In other economic news for Jackson County, Henry reported that Jackson County has been approved for the Creating Outdoor Recreation Economies (CORE) grant offered by the Main Street Planning Center and rural area of ​​the North Carolina Department of Commerce.

The grant provides a technical assistance program providing strategic planning and asset development services for the outdoor recreation economy to take advantage of the abundant outdoor recreation resources available in the state of Carolina. North to strengthen local economic vitality. The program will focus on activities that communities can do to: increase tourism; encourage small business development; position communities to attract outdoor equipment manufacturing industries; development plan for outdoor leisure assets and infrastructure; and improve the quality of life of residents.

The outdoor recreation economy is a broad economic sector that includes consumer spending on things like guides, outfitters, and equipment. Outdoor recreation also fuels employment and consumer spending in other sectors such as manufacturing, retail, transportation, restaurants, tourism, travel, etc.

The visioning process will identify recommendations and activities to create an ecosystem of places where people participate in outdoor recreation, supporting small businesses, outdoor recreation infrastructure that improves residents’ quality of life, tourism , the creation of creative places, etc. These elements work together to increase economic opportunity and community vitality.

A memorandum of understanding (MOU) approved by the local board of directors is required to engage the North Carolina Department of Commerce’s Main Street and Rural Planning Center in the planning process. According to Henry, a memorandum of understanding will be presented to the commissioners at their January meeting.

“The program will allow us to look at our outdoor economy and what we can do to support it,” Henry said. “It will provide asset mapping, an inventory of all outdoor recreational assets and associated industry available within the community. This will help us identify where gaps may exist as well as what we can do to support and encourage entrepreneurship in the outdoor recreation economy.

“We know we have natural strengths, but this program will help us assess whether we are building on those strengths, what is in place and what we can do better,” she added.



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