Biz news: Mountaire, State Fair and a no-go for Duke Energy

BY ZACHARY HORNER, News + Record Staff
Posted 11/8/19
This week’s roundup of news and notes affecting the business world in Chatham County includes a reflection on a company locating in Siler City, a surprising drop in attendance from a popular state …

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Biz news: Mountaire, State Fair and a no-go for Duke Energy

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Posted

This week’s roundup of news and notes affecting the business world in Chatham County includes a reflection on a company locating in Siler City, a surprising drop in attendance from a popular state attraction and a follow-up on something we reported on a few weeks ago.

Grimes on Mountaire: ‘Exciting moment in our Town’s history’

During the annual “State of the Town” address last week, Siler City Mayor John Grimes spoke about the importance of the opening of the Mountaire Farms chicken plant, which opened on Third Street in Siler City earlier this year.

The company poured $170 million into the project and will eventually hire a total of 1,200 employees. Grimes said the project represented “resurgence in our local economy by providing investment and employment opportunities.”

“It revitalized and repurposed existing properties, hired many of our local contractors and merchants during the building process, invigorated our economy and lifted our community’s spirits,” Grimes said. “It gives us great pleasure to partner with Mountaire and on behalf of the town, the town board and our citizens, I want to personally say to Mountaire and [Mountaire’s Community Relations Manager] Mark Reif, thank you for coming to Siler City.”

State Fair attendance down

The N.C. State Fair was always a big deal to me growing up, and our somewhat-annual trips were exciting to me and friends that attended with us. But I haven’t been in a few years, and apparently I wasn’t the only one.

According to a report from WRAL, State Fair attendance dipped by 39,000 from last year — a total of 938,029 people. That marked the lowest total in five years, even though the 2018 edition closed for one day due to bad weather. The total attendance was also below the average for the past 10 years.

The highest attended day of the fair was Saturday, October 26, when 136,448 people went through the entry turnstiles.

Duke Energy-related bill denied in part

We reported in early October that Duke Energy, which provides power and electricity to the majority of Chathamites and North Carolinians, is seeking a rate hike to help with the shift to cleaner energy and pay for repairs to equipment damaged by hurricanes. While there’s no movement on that, there was some movement last week on related legislation.

The N.C. General Assembly killed part of a bill that would allow Duke and other utility providers to get rate increases approved up to three years in advance. The other piece of the legislation, which was approved by the N.C. House and Senate, changed the way utility companies financed storm repairs.

The final bill, Senate Bill 559, altered the way utility providers can finance storm repair efforts in a way that backers say can save customers money. The final version received unanimous support in both chambers of the legislature.

Reporter Zachary Horner can be reached at zhorner@chathamnr.com or on Twitter at @ZachHornerCNR, where he’ll be live-tweeting all the government meetings he attends.

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