American Racing Headers breaks ground on new Stanfield plant

Published 3:59 pm Wednesday, July 13, 2022

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A Long Island-based high-end automotive parts company will soon call Stanly County home.

American Racing Headers, which produces custom headers, exhaust systems and more, broke ground Tuesday at the plant’s new location at 120 Riverstone Dr. in Stanfield.

Many local public officials attended the groundbreaking, including Stanfield Mayor Kevin Barbee, Charles Brown from the Rural Infrastructure Authority and Stanly County Commissioners Bill Lawhon, Mike Barbee and Scott Efird.

Lawhon, who also serves on the board of the Stanly County Economic Development Commission, recalled a phone conversation with Economic Development Commission Director Candice Lowder three years ago almost to the day, asking if he could meet a group at the Riverstone Industrial Park.

That group was American Racing Headers, Lawhon said, including owner and operator Nick Filippides, who had been all over the state looking for a new site.

A couple of months later, Lawhon, Lowder and County Manager Andy Lucas were invited to tour the facility on Long Island.

They shared a meal, which Lawhon said impressed him and showed ARH “is a family company that care about their family, but also care about their employees.” He said their facility was very clean and organized which was impressive.

Lawhon said the company hopes to move to the new facility by 2024.

Barbee said ARH “enjoys the town. They enjoy a family atmosphere to come to a place that has workers who like to work…Stanfield offers a place to bring your family and enjoy a family atmosphere.”

Brown conveyed the well wishes of several not attending the groundbreaking, including Gov. Roy Cooper, Gene McLaurin of the Economic Development Partnership of North Carolina, N.C. Rep. Wayne Sasser and N.C. Sen. Carl Ford. He also mentioned Dr. John Enamait of Stanly Community College, noting the state community college system “plays a key role in development and training of employees of various companies and businesses.”

Kenny Flowers, the assistant secretary of Rural Economic Development for the North Carolina Department of Commerce, spoke to the attendees. He brought greetings from Cooper and Secretary of Commerce Machelle Baker Sanders. He said he was excited to see ARH moving to Stanly, adding community investing and becoming a part of a neighborhood is great “when we see companies that are interested in North Carolina, willing to drop anchor (here) and invest and become part of communities.”

Flowers added “community building is the most important thing that we do at Commerce and certainly that we do together collectively.” He noted a $300,000 grant given to Stanly from a development fund utility account which helped create the opportunity.

Filippides said the new 42,000-square-foot facility “will be a game changer for ARH and for the communities of Stanly. We can’t be more thrilled.”

He said the company markets high-performance headers to increase performance and fuel mileage for Corvettes, Mustangs, Dodge Challengers and parts for classic 1960s muscle cars.

The new facility, he said, will be part of the company’s expansion into a new line of mufflers and will employ approximately 55 to 65 employees.

Filippides also noted the proximity of Stanfield to the competitive racing teams in the Mooresville area.

“Ultimately, we came here because of how hardcore racing is here. We should be able to attract really quality talent.”

About Charles Curcio

Charles Curcio has served as the sports editor of the Stanly News & Press for more than 16 years and has written numerous news and feature storeis as well. He was awarded the NCHSAA Tim Stevens Media Representative of the Year and named CNHI Sports Editor of the Year in 2014. He has also won an award from Boone Newspapers, and has won four North Carolina Press Association awards.

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