Grant funds will help with Norwood business expansion

Published 3:26 pm Thursday, December 8, 2022

North Carolina Rural Infrastructure Authority (RIA) has approved 14 grant requests to local governments totaling $2,979,648, Gov. Roy Cooper announced Thursday.

The $2.9 million in funding is on top of more than $42 million already awarded this year, making 2022 a record year for RIA investment in rural North Carolina. The requests include commitments to create a total of 494 jobs, 128 of which were previously announced. The public investment in these projects will attract more than $295 million in private investment.

“When we use these infrastructure grants to help rural North Carolina thrive, we improve our whole state’s economic competitiveness,” said  Cooper. “We are strengthening local communities by making strategic investments in facilities and sites that will host good jobs.”

The North Carolina Department of Commerce’s team of rural economic development professionals supports the RIA’s work. RIA members review and approve funding requests from local communities. Funding comes from a variety of specialized grant and loan programs offered and managed by N.C. Commerce’s Rural Economic Development Division, led by Assistant Secretary for Rural Development Kenny Flowers. Grants can support a variety of activities, including infrastructure development, building renovation, expansion and demolition, and site improvements.

“With these latest RIA grants, our rural programs have invested more than $87 million in rural communities this year, which helps us achieve another banner year for economic development in North Carolina,” said N.C. Commerce Secretary Machelle Baker Sanders. “These grants play a key role in creating jobs and attracting investment, and we are pleased to be able to partner with local governments to support their economic growth.”

The RIA approved 12 grant requests under the state’s Building Reuse Program in three categories: Vacant Building, Existing Business Building and Rural Health.

Under the Existing Business Building category, a $120,000 grant will support the expansion of a building in Norwood that is occupied by New Finish Inc., a sandblasting and power coating company that finishes metal surfaces for the automotive industry. The company plans to add 30,000 square feet to the existing facility. The project is set to create 15 jobs, with an investment of $3,464,225 by the company.

Public hearings for performance-based incentives were conducted on Nov. 7 by the Town of Norwood and Nov. 21 by Stanly County. The goal of local incentives is to encourage new investment and induce job creation.

Established in 2001, it was Steve and Brenda Bradley’s dream to open a small powder coating shop to support their family of four. Working together, they grew the business beyond their own expectations by picking up commercial customers and assisting local walk-in customers. New Finish expanded in 2003 and again in 2010, adding trucking finished products to commercial customers.

Steve Bradley is excited about the company’s continued growth.

“We grew from just the two of us working to a workforce of sixty people. Our employees are the foundation of our business. We have a very diverse team of people, we are a big family. Because of our solid group of people, our reputation in the industry is one of quality product with on time delivery. Sales have steadily gone upward, we have taken on many new commercial customers and it’s time to expand again to accommodate new products. We look forward to adding on more team members when the expansion is complete.”

Brenda Bradley added, “The continued support of the Stanly County Economic Development Commission, the Stanly County Board of Commissioners and the Town of Norwood has been instrumental in the success of New Finish, Inc. Each and every day, we are thankful for our team members, customers, community leaders and the people of our community. We are blessed to call Norwood, NC home.”
Local leaders recognize the investment and jobs created by New Finish’s continued growth.

“On behalf of Stanly Commissioners and Stanly County, we are excited about the expansion of New Finish. We are looking forward to the growth and the good jobs this will bring to Stanly County. We wish them the best on their continued success,” said Scott Efird, chairman of the Board of Commissioners.

Norwood Mayor Linda Campbell added: “New Finish has brought many jobs and economic growth to our community over the years. We are excited to see the addition to this business and we are pleased to offer an incentive to assist in this growth. Norwood looks forward to more growth in our town and will do what is needed to partner with future businesses.”