TekTone Sound to expand operations in Macon
With the help of matching grants funds from Macon County, TekTone Sound & Signal Manufacturing Inc. will expand operations at the county industrial park with the purchase of the former SKF facility.
The company has committed to hiring an additional 35 workers over the next five years and plans to invest $2.9 million in the expansion. The former SKF facility includes 72,000 square feet of space for the expansion plans. The average salary for the jobs being created is $48,000.
The project was made possible in part by performance-based grants from the North Carolina Department of Commerce’s OneNC Fund ($90,000) and Macon County ($30,000). These grants are contingent upon a combination of verified job creation and investment performance benchmarks. Tektone’s agreement with the Macon County Economic Development Commission includes appropriate claw-back provisions in case those performance benchmarks are not met.
Tommy Jenkins, Macon’s economic development director, told commissioners last month the county would benefit from additional property tax on the currently abandoned building and the company’s investment in new equipment.
County Commission Chairman Kevin Corbin said the county would be able to recoup its investment in two years through tax revenue — not to mention the trickle down impact it will have on the local economy.
“We are excited to have TekTone investing in the economic future of Macon County,” said Corbin. “We are appreciative of their commitment to providing good jobs and investment in our community. Transacting business on five continents, they are an excellent example of a local company thriving in a global economy.”
Founded in 1973, TekTone opened its manufacturing facility in Franklin in 1989. TekTone designs and manufactures wired and wireless nurse call, apartment entry, area of rescue assistance, alert integration and resident wandering systems. TekTone healthcare communications systems are found in hospitals, retirement communities, skilled nursing and assisted/independent living facilities around the globe.
TekTone world headquarters is in Franklin, and the company’s network of first-rate distributors and representatives stretches worldwide. The privately held company currently employs about 70 people locally.
“The purchase of the former SKF facility is a significant investment for us. When it became clear we were outgrowing our current facility, we made it a priority to stay in Macon County, if at all possible,” said Tektone President Carlos Mira in a press release. “We thank our employees, customers and partners for making this a reality, and look forward to expansion and growth in the Macon County Industrial Park.”
Jenkins recently told commissioners the company is also going after a building re-use program grant to help with the cost of renovating the facility. Qualifying businesses can receive up to $12,500 per job created for renovations. The county committed to providing a 5 percent match, which comes out to $5,375. Commissioners allocated all the grant match funding from its 2015-16 budget contingency fund.
Harmony House Foods expands to new location
Harmony House Foods has purchased the current TekTone Sound and Signal Manufacturing facility in the Macon County Industrial Park, following the TekTone purchase of the former SKF building in the park.
Located in the Macon County Business Development Center, Harmony House is a seller and distributor of dehydrated foods, both domestically and internationally. Its honors include the Editor’s Choice Award from Backpacker Magazine and the “Business People of the Year” nomination by the Small Business Administration for the State of North Carolina.
“Harmony House will be expanding from an 8,500-square-foot facility to an over 32,000-square-foot location, showing significant growth since becoming a Business Development Center tenant in 2013,” said Tommy Jenkins, Macon County Economic Development Director. “Being a family owned and operated business, as well as located in a region world renowned for hiking and outdoor recreation, Harmony House is a perfect fit for our local economy.”
Harmony House plans to steadily increase its workforce over the next several years as new products come to market.
“We have so many opportunities for product growth that it just made sense to expand,” said John Seaman, president of Harmony House. “Expanding right here in Franklin was an easy choice because Macon County has provided such an excellent business environment.”
There are also plans for a future outlet store adjacent to the production facility.
“A.T. hikers and local residents often ask if we have a storefront they can visit. We hope to provide that for them,” said Vice President Linda Seaman.