Updated:CLEVELAND COUNTY, N.C. —
A company that makes solar power mounting systems plans to establish a production and distribution facility in Shelby.
Shirley Champion is glad local leaders took a chance and built the facility hoping to lure in new businesses.
“I think it's good,” Champion said. “That means the county stepped out on faith.”
The mother of three went to the unemployment office on Tuesday hoping to get a job with Schletter, Inc.
“I have been searching since October and really there is not a lot in this area that's going to pay what that job is going to pay,” Champion said.
The average salary for the new positions is about $40,000 plus benefits.
Schletter, Inc. makes solar power mounting systems and plans to hire 305 employees over the next four years.
“Exciting surprise, I guess you might say,” said Michael Chrisawn, the president of the Cleveland County Chamber of Commerce.
Chrisawn said local leaders decided to build the facility a couple years ago, when Cleveland County's unemployment rate was hovering around 12 percent. They hoped to attract businesses with a turn-key office and hefty incentives.
“Most of the time when you build a spec building, you have to allow three years for that spec building to move, to be sold,” Chrisawn said.
This one was on the market for just a year and a half.
Profits from the sale of the building will be reinvested in the construction of another building in the foothills commerce center in hopes of bringing in even more jobs.
“And then we also have some other people who are looking at the possibility of building some in other parts of the county as well,” Chrisawn said.
Economic development officials said they cannot yet say how much money they will have to reinvest in the commerce center until the sale of the building is complete. They expect that will happen in the next few weeks.