‘Miracle’ for North Rowan: Chewy announcement called a ‘win-win’

Published 12:00 am Sunday, April 21, 2019

By Liz Moomey

SALISBURY — Saying it’s a “developer’s dream” and a “miracle” for North Rowan, those likely to be affected by the news that Chewy, an online retailer of pet food and products, plans to build a fulfillment center with 1,200 jobs are already excited.

The 700,000-square-foot facility will be located at the intersection of Long Ferry Road and Interstate 85.

East Spencer Mayor Barbara Mallett said the job announcement is a “miracle” for the north part of the county. Mallet said North Rowan now is falling in line with the growth in the southern Rowan as Interstate 85 is widened.

The town, she said, has been prepared for a time like this by updating interstate Exit 79 to Andrews Street and a water line project. She said the town has removed older, dilapidated homes to allow for new homes to be built.

Spencer Mayor Jim Gobbel said the announcement is positive no matter how it’s spun. Chewy will not only boost the the economy, but perhaps contribute to the creation of other, new businesses. Gobbel said Spencer is ready “right now” for growth.

Tom Bost, president of the Salisbury/Rowan Association of Realtors, Inc., said he sees all of Rowan County being impacted by growth with the Chewy facility.

“It’s going to be a developer’s dream,” Bost said.

The association is prepared to take care of the expansion of the housing market, but housing inventory may be an issue, he said.

The Millers Ferry Fire Department has also been waiting for a moment like the Chewy announcement, said Chief Josh Fox.

The department has spent the last few years upgrading manpower and equipment. The department is also being re-evaluated in the next month for its fire protection rating, which can help businesses, Fox said. 

“We’re going to open our arms to them to provide the best service,” he said.

The groundbreaking for the faculty is set for May 2 and construction is expected to be completed by June 2020.

The average salary for employees is projected to be $28,388 along with benefits. Bost said many who move to the county may be first-time home buyers and will take advantage of the low mortgage rates compared to renting.

The job announcement was the largest, single job announcement in Rowan County’s history.