Surry Business

For and about business in Surry County, N.C., including Dobson, Elkin, Lowgap, Pilot Mountain and Mount Airy

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Employment Fair will follow Career Fair on Wednesday

March 31st, 2008 · No Comments

The Surry County Career Fair for the high school juniors will be open from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. Wednesday, April 2, at the National Guard Armory in Mount Airy (map).

Students will be able to meet and talk with adults about 70 future career possibilities.

Immediately following the Career Fair, an Employment Fair will begin for jobseekers and companies with openings. This event also will be in the armory.

For more information about either program, contact Joan Sherif of the Northwest Regional Library at (336) 835-4894 or

→ No CommentsTags: Education · Workforce

Yadkin Valley Bank names executive vice president

March 31st, 2008 · No Comments

Yadkin Valley Bank in Elkin has named Joseph Towell as its new executive vice president and chief lending officer.

Towell has more than 30 years of banking and financial experience. He has bachelor’s and MBA degrees from Appalachian State University.

Yadkin Valley Financial Corp., the Surry County-based bank holding company that owns Yadkin Valley Bank, also announced that its board of directors has two new members. Dan Hill III and Morris Shambley were chosen for the board as part of the merger between Cardinal State Bank and Yadkin Valley Financial Corp. Hill will serve on the board’s marketing committee and Shambley on the board’s real-estate committee.

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Brewington earns another professional certification

March 31st, 2008 · No Comments

John Brewington, the president of Brewington & Co. in Surry County, has earned his second Fleet Management Professional certification from the Association of Equipment Management Professionals.

Brewington now is a certified Equipment Manager Professional.

He has worked in fleet-management for 39 years.

Construction, transportation and heavy-equipment trade magazine articles frequently quote Brewington. He talks about the advantages of owning equipment compared to leasing in this article from Public Works Online. He discusss the value of professional certifications in this article from Public Works magazine. And in this article from Grading & Excavator Contractor’s magazine, Brewington talks about using life-cycle cost analysis to make decisions on replacing equipment.

Brewington’s office is at 204 Grace St. in Mount Airy.

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Yadkin Valley merger clears last hurdle

March 20th, 2008 · No Comments

With the approval of Cardinal State Bank’s shareholders, Yadkin Valley Financial Corp. (NASDAQ:YAVY) of Elkin can finalize its purchase of the Durham-based bank, probably by the end of this month.

Yadkin Valley hoped to buy Cardinal State (NASDAQ:CSNC) late in 2007, six months after the Surry County-based bank holding corporation offered $41.8 million in cash and stock. Accounting problems delayed the merger.

In an unrelated development, Yadkin Valley announced Tuesday that it will more than double its provision for loan losses to $2.5 million from $1.1 million. The company said that will cut the company’s 2007 earnings per share to $1.37 from $1.45.

The bank said its annual audit “determined that there exists a material weakness in Yadkin Valley’s internal control over financial reporting.”

The bank says it is remediating the problems and will release audited year-end financial results for 2007 by the end of March.

As of Dec. 31, Yadkin Valley had assets of $1.2 billion, up 8.1 percent for the year.

Yadkin Valley Financial operates 24 Yadkin Valley Bank and Trust Co. branches (those in Iredell and Mecklenburg counties are identified as Piedmont Bank) in North Carolina. The bank provides mortgage lending services through its subsidiary, Sidus Financial LLC in Greenville. Securities brokerage services are provided by Main Street Investment Services Inc., a subsidiary with four offices located in the branch network.

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Women’s-wear retailer reports lower sales

March 20th, 2008 · No Comments

Women’s apparel retailer Cato Corp., which has two stores in Surry County, has reported lower fourth-quarter same-store sales and reduced earnings.

The Charlotte-based company had a quarterly loss of $1.8 million, or 6 cents per diluted share. In the year-ago period, Cato earned $12.7 million, or 40 cents per diluted share. Revenue fell 9 percent to $209.4 million. Sales at stores in operation for at least a year dropped 6 percent.

For the year, Cato earned $32.3 million, or $1.03 per diluted share, down 37 percent from $51.5 million, or $1.62 per diluted share, in fiscal 2006. Revenue declined 3 percent to $834.3 million in fiscal 2007. Comparable-store sales fell 4 percent.

“Our 2007 results reflect the difficult retail environment,” said CEO John Cato. “Our comparable-store sales decrease and the resulting markdowns were the primary contributors to the lower earnings.”

The company expects expects 2008 earnings of $21-27 million or 72 cents to 93 cents per diluted share.

Cato operates 1,318 stores in 32 states, including those in Elkin and Mount Airy.

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State finds larger workforce in Surry County

March 20th, 2008 · No Comments

Surry County has more than 36,000 people in its resident workforce, the North Carolina Employment Security Commission says in its January employment report, and more than 33,600 have jobs.

Both numbers are significantly higher than previous estimates. Throughout 2007, the commission reported a local labor force of about 34,900 people with 33,000 people working.

The commission each year “re-norms” its estimates for workforce, employment and joblessness. “The recalculation is required to meet federal guidelines,” the Winston-Salem Journal reports. “The benchmark is a monthly population survey by the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics to determine the national unemployment rate.

“One result of the annual benchmarking typically is a reduction in the nonseasonally adjusted work force within the state’s four metropolitan statistical areas. For example, in the Winston-Salem MSA, there were 2,700 fewer jobs listed for January compared with December…. The Greensboro-High Point MSA was listed with 5,000 fewer jobs, Charlotte-Gastonia-Concord MSA with 15,200 fewer jobs and Raleigh-Cary with 7,900 fewer jobs.”

If the commission’s numbers hold up, the size of Surry County’s labor force today is as large as it was in 2003 and employment actually is higher. During that four-year period, the county has lost thousands of manufacturing jobs. However, Surry County has had growth in government employment, service-sector sole proprietorships and limited partnerships, retailing, health-care occupations and the hospitality industry.

The county’s unemployment rate remains high and, in fact, jumped from 2,114 at the end of 2007 to 2,448 in January as workers laid off late last year exhausted any severance payments and began claiming unemployment compensation. The 6.8 percent unemployment rate is the highest since early 2004. Surry County now has the highest unemployment rate in the 12-county Piedmont Triad region, according to the Winston-Salem Journal’s article.

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Surry Messenger moving to larger office

March 7th, 2008 · No Comments

A little more than eight months after opening for business, the Surry Messenger will be moving to an office three times larger than its current quarters at the New Market Crossing shopping center in Mount Airy.

Publisher Mike Milligan made the announcement Wednesday.

“We’re thrilled to be progressing to this next stage in our growth,” Milligan said.

The 5,200-square-foot space at 101 W. Lebanon St., formerly occupied by Interiors, will provide room for The Messenger to expand its operations, including business ventures such as web and graphic design, magazines, public relations and advertising placement services and its growing preprint advertising business, Milligan said.

The Surry Messenger is the first daily newspaper started in North Carolina in the past 40 years. It was founded by former employees of The Mount Airy News and Elkin Tribune after Heartland Publications bought those two newspapers. Now Surry County’s largest newspaper in terms of circulation, The Messenger is delivered free to 10,800 homes in Mount Airy, Dobson and Pilot Mountain in North Carolina and in Cana, Va.

Renovation of the new offices is expected to take about a month. The move to the new office may come in early April.

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26 companies, LLCs registered in Surry County

March 7th, 2008 · No Comments

In February, eight corporations and 18 limited-liability corporations registered their Surry County businesses with the North Carolina Secretary of State’s office.

The month had the biggest spurt in economic activity since last summer.

The companies and LLCs are:

  • Atlanta Retail Maintenance Inc., 1810 Frans Road in Westfield, registered by Timothy Burton.
  • Crown/Brawley-WAG LLC and Mayhew Development Group LLC, both registered by Charles Patrick Crosby Jr. of The Crown Companies, 121 N. Crutchfield in Dobson
  • Crown/Stuart LLC registered by Samuel L. Holder Jr., also of The Crown Companies in Dobson.
  • DeSena Commercial Services LLC, 525 Holly Springs Road, Mount Airy, registered by Tom Desena.
  • Elkin Creek Bar & Grill Inc., 2001 N. Bridge St., Elkin, registered by Graham Marquis Greene.
  • Granite/Snowhill LLC registered by R. Craig Hunter, a principal at Granite Development Inc., 210 Airport Road, Suite 200, Mount Airy
  • Heena Corporation of N.C. Inc. registered by Milankuma Shah, 106 Highland Ave., Mount Airy.
  • InTrust Investments LLC, 1531 Hicks Drive #11, Mount Airy, registered by Carl Ray Whitaker.
  • Joyce Properties of Mount Airy LLC, 136 W. Lebanon, Mount Airy, registered by Tammy Hull Joyce of 161 Guiness Lane, Mount Airy.
  • Kirby Enterprises LLC, 913 Reeves Drive, registered by Tony Kirby.
  • Kirkman Apartments LLC and Lily’s Land LLC, 1060 S. Main, both registered by Treva J. Kirkman.
  • LHF Properties LLC, 564 E. Walker Road, Elkin, registered by Tony Litschke.
  • Needham Holdings L.L.C., 508 W. Main, Pilot Mountain, registered by Linda Needham.
  • Nightride International LLC, 1673 Old Highway 601, Mount Airy, registered by Bruce Smith Hodges.
  • Piedmont Orofacial Myology Inc. registered by Natasha Bruner Sumner, 171 Stevenson Farm Lane, Ararat.
  • Rockford Street LLC and Snowhill Drive LLC registered by William W. Juno, 701 W. Pine St., Suite 100, in Mount Airy.
  • S&P Sit N Sun Inc., 4015 Reid Road in Tobaccoville, registered by John P. Pulliam, 143 W. Main in Pilot Mountain.
  • Sweet Tones Music Inc., 339 Cristi Lane in Dobson, registered by Gerald Jacobsen.
  • T.A.E.P. Inc., 4445 Westfield Road, Mount Airy, registered by Tracie Ann Pine.
  • TG Golf LLC at Pilot Knob golf course, 450 Clubhouse Drive in Pilot Mountain, registered by Tom M. Gibson III.
  • The MAST Group LLC registered by Tammy Ammen, 125 Oak Lane in State Road, with Audrey Adkins of 392 Cedarcreek Drive, also in State Road.
  • Vaughn-Miller Enterprises LLC, 279 Hickory St., Suite 600, registered by Marissa V. and Jimmy Wayne Miller Jr. and Grayson G. Vaughn of 229 Emmanuel Church Lane, Mount Airy.
  • Willow Floors & Cabinetry Inc., 404 Jarvis Plantation Road in Dobson, registered by Tina H. Swaim.

→ No CommentsTags: Businesses · Economic development

Expanding industry might bring 100 jobs

March 7th, 2008 · No Comments

An expanding industry might bring 100 new jobs to Surry County, The Mount Airy News reports today.

“They need to expand production,” said Ted Ashby, president of Surrey Bank & Trust and the current chairman of the Surry County Economic Development Partnership Inc., announced during the monthly meeting of the city-county Liaison Committee, a group of Mount Airy and Surry County public leaders who discuss joint projects.

Ashby said the unnamed company will need extra manufacturing capacity if it wins a U.S. government contract.

Ashby also reported that Duke Energy is looking for more sites where it can help local communities attract new businesses. One potential site is the Piedmont West Corporate Industrial Park on Mount Airy’s outskirts.

Ashby said Duke Energy officials plan to visit the industrial park, perhaps in the next 30 to 60 days.

The Surry Messenger reports more extensively on Duke Energy’s interest. Brook R. Corwin’s report is here.

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Greater Mount Airy Chamber earns 3-Star Accreditation

March 6th, 2008 · No Comments

The U.S. Chamber of Commerce has awarded The Greater Mount Airy Chamber of Commerce its “3-Star Accreditation” for sound policies, effective organizational procedures and positive impact on the community.

“Accreditation recognizes chambers for their high standards of practice, full accountability to members and steadfast commitment to community,” said Thomas J. Donohue, president and CEO, U.S. Chamber of Commerce. “We applaud these organizations for advancing the principles of free enterprise.”

Accreditation is the only national program that recognizes chambers for their effective organizational procedures and community involvement. In order to receive accreditation, a chamber must meet or surpass minimum standards in its operations and programs, including areas of governance, government affairs and technology. It is the result of an extensive self-review that can take three to six months to complete. Local chambers are rated as Accredited, 3-Stars, 4-Stars or 5-Stars. The final determination is made by the Accrediting Board, a committee of U.S. Chamber board members.

President and CEO Betty Ann Collins said the Mount Airy chamber’s staff was elated when they heard the news

“It was quite a process and proved to be an eye-opener for everyone who worked toward the completion of the application,” she said.

“The Greater Mount Airy Chamber of Commerce continues to act as the leading advocate for local business by providing valuable benefits and services in a financially responsible manner to our membership. Being recognized in the top four percent of all chambers in the United States and in the top 37 percent of national accredited chambers is quiet an honor. We thank the U.S. Chamber for recognizing the Greater Mount Airy Chamber of Commerce and the quality of our chamber’s efforts. We consider it a real honor to work with our business community and we pledge to continue to operate at the highest standards.”

The Greater Mount Airy Chamber of Commerce is the largest business advocate organization in Surry County. It sponsors the Autumn Leaves Festival that annually attracts tens of thousands of visitors in October. Its office in the Mount Airy Downtown Historic District, a former bank building at 202 N. Main, also houses the community visitors center.

The chamber will have its annual awards luncheon at noon March 27 in Cross Creek Country Club.

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