Biz Roundup: Chewy seeking more than 200 workers at fulfillment center

Published 12:00 am Sunday, May 23, 2021

SALISBURY — Chewy announced last week that it is hiring more than 200 full and part time positions with a variety of skill sets and shifts for its fulfillment center in Salisbury.

Since officially beginning operations at the facility in April 2020, the company has already surpassed its initial goal of creating 1,200 jobs by 2025. In the fall, Chewy put out a similar call for more than 200 workers.

The online pet retailer is now offering more incentives to lure in applicants, including the ability of employees to earn up to an extra $2 per hour added to full time wages, an earning potential of up to $20 per hour depending on shift and role, referral bonuses of $500, sign-on bonuses of $250 and temporary overtime incentives of up to $500 in addition overtime pay through June 5. 

Those interested can find more information and apply at Chewy.com/jobs, or visit the fulfillment center for an on the spot interview Monday through Friday from 9 a.m.-5 p.m. at 255 Front Creek Rd.

Chamber and Extension Office team up to host third annual Arts and Ag Farm Tour

SALISBURY — The Rowan County Chamber of Commerce and Extension Office will host the third annual Rowan Arts and Ag Farm Tour on June 5 from 10 a.m.-4 p.m.

The self-guided tour is free to attend. There will be farm produce and artwork available for sale. This year’s tour is focused on the western side of Rowan County, particularly the Mount Ulla and Cleveland communities.

Those participating in the tour are encouraged to start at the Rowan County Life Museum located at 550 Sloan Rd. The museum will serve as home base for the Arts and Ag Farm Tour and has antique agricultural equipment on display. Volunteers at the museum will be prepared to answer any questions about each stop on the tour and provide participants with a brochure.

The other farm sites on the tour include:

• Evans Family Farm, which raises sheep, chickens and pigs. Participants can learn about how  they rotate pastures to keep their animals healthy and improve the soil quality.

• Lutheridge Creamery, a small dairy farm that is in the process of beginning to bottle milk and make artisan cheese.

• Ray Horton Farms, which grows soybeans, corn, wheat and barley. Carolina Malt processes the barley where it is malted and sold to breweries across the Carolinas.

• Tranquility Vineyards will be offering muscadine slushies, muscadine grapes, juice, cider, jelly and honey.

• West Rowan High School FFA program will have plants for sale and demonstrate their working farm school and agricultural education land laboratory.

Artist featured on the tour include: Chuck Payne, knives; Lee Menius, leather; Rosty Menius, woodworking; Mark DeYoung, metal caster; Lisa Waugh, silversmith; Connie Christman, potter; Keyth Kahrs, watercolor artist; and, Marcia Hartman, beadwork.

More information can be found online at https://artsandagtour.com/our-farms-artisans/  or Rowan Arts & Ag Farm Tour Facebook page or the Visit NC Farms App.

Salisbury Police Department promotes Brooks to lieutenant

SALISBURY — The Salisbury Police Department last week promoted Sgt. Corey J. Brooks to lieutenant.

Brooks has more than 20 years of experience in law enforcement. After beginning his career with the East Spencer Police Department, Brooks was hired by the Salisbury Police Department in 2001 as a patrol officer and continued to rise through the ranks. 

“I am honored to be able to continue my career with the Salisbury Police Department as a lieutenant,” Brooks said in a news release. “When I first arrived in Salisbury to attend Livingstone College, I fell in love with the community and its residents. The city of Salisbury has afforded me both the opportunity to advance my career, and protect and serve those who welcomed me here with open arms.” 

Brooks’ previous responsibilities included supervision of the patrol division, training and recruitment. He most recently served as a sergeant in the criminal investigations/violent crimes unit.

In addition to his duties as a SPD officer, Brooks is the commander of the SPD Honor Guard, a verbal communication instructor, a member of the 2020 N.C. Homicide Investigator Association and a graduate of the N.C. Crisis Intervention Team program training.

Brooks has received a number of accolades throughout his tenure, including the city of Salisbury Keys to Excellence Bronze Award, Salisbury Police Veteran Officer of the Year, the 2016 Blue Line Brother Hood Award and the Lions Club Salisbury Police Veteran of the Year award.

A Sumter, South Carolina native, Brooks holds a criminal justice degree from Livingstone College and an Advanced Law Enforcement Certificate from the N.C. Department of Justice. Brooks is a member of Omega Psi Phi Fraternity, Inc.

Rowan EDC adds two new investors to Forward Rowan Campaign

SALISBURY — The Rowan Economic Development Commission surpassed 50 investors in its Forward Rowan campaign with the recent additions of Imperial Supplies and Southern Power.

Investments in the campaign go towards accomplishing three primary goals: increasing prosperity, reducing poverty and improving quality of life, according to the Rowan EDC. This will be accomplished through targeted economic growth, talent attraction and development, brand identity and storytelling, and high-performance service delivery.

“We’re grateful to Imperial Supplies and Southern Power for their commitment to the Forward Rowan campaign,” Rod Crider, Rowan EDC president, said in a news release. “All 51 investors in the campaign have shown a trust in us to deliver on our promises to support our existing industry while proactively marketing the county to companies planning relocations or expansions.”

In total, $1,227,300 has been committed to the campaign, just $22,700 from the organization’s original stretch goal of $1.25 million.

Funds raised through the Forward Rowan campaign have been used by the Rowan EDC to develop the Work in Rowan job portal, hire a marketing and communications manager, develop and publish a talent attraction brochure and engage an outside firm to pursue an extensive talent attraction campaign.

Kannapolis receives communications awards for mask campaign, promotion of veteran

KANNAPOLIS — The city of Kannapolis was among 19 North Carolina governments to earn recognition in the N.C. City and County Communicators’ (NC3C) 2021 Excellence in Communications awards.

The city of Kannapolis won a first-place award in the category of graphic design for the “Wear A Mask” COVID-19 Campaign. The city also won a second-place honor for the social media post and campaign honoring Dot Cole on her 107th birthday and recognition as the oldest living U.S. Marine.

The awards were announced in conjunction with the NC3C’s virtual 2021 annual conference. All 168 award program entries were judged by professional communications peers from the Minnesota Association of Government Communicators.

“Congratulations to all the winners. You deserve your award, and you deserve to be recognized for your hard work,” NC3C President Joshua Harris said in a news release. “Communications is an important part of local government operations, and one goal of NC3C is to recognize those communicators across the state who create great content and help keep our citizens informed. Keep up the good work. You make me proud to be part of NC3C.” 

The graphic design, “Wear A Mask,” was part of a countywide effort launched as soon as the mask mandates from the CDC and the state were issued. Kannapolis worked closely with the Cabarrus County, the city of Concord, the Cabarrus Health Alliance and the towns of Harrisburg, Mt. Pleasant and Midland to design and promote the “Wear A Mask” campaign with all of the mayors and the County Commission chair. 

The graphics and campaign were launched within 24 hours of the mandate. The campaign was received positively by the public and the news media including front page coverage in local newspapers and coverage by regional television stations. Judges recognized this design for its color, to the point message and the ability to produce it quickly as the county and cities worked rapidly to react to the pandemic restrictions.

The social media campaign in honor of Cole revolved around images of her time spent in the military and interviews with her and her family. The campaign resulted in national attention from multiple media outlets, such as Newsweek and Southern Living Magazine, and special recognition from the U.S. Marine Corp. One post had a reach of 100,000 within a few days. The post was recognized by the judges as demonstrating how a city can in showing compassion for citizens especially in the midst of COVID-19 when a more public recognition could not be done.

The purpose of North Carolina City and County Communicators is to encourage professional development and networking among local governmental communications professionals. The organization was formed in March 2007 and consists of professional government communicators from around the state. For more information about NC3C, visit www.nc3c.com.

Salisbury-Rowan Community Action Agency to host resource event

SALISBURY — Salisbury-Rowan Community Action Agency is hosting a mobile resource event on Friday from 10 a.m.-2 p.m. at 1300 W. Bank St.

The event will feature a mobile job fair, mobile COVID-19 unit, a financial literacy workshop and giveaways donated from Amazon.

Current openings that will be featured during the event include administrative support and data specialists, bus drivers, custodians, dietary technicians and teachers. More information about the event can be found online by visiting https://www.srcaa.com/.

Salisbury, Kannapolis featured in 25 safest cities in North Carolina rankings

SALISBURY — The cities of Salisbury and Kannapolis were recently featured in SafeHome’s rankings of the 25 safest cities in North Carolina.

Kannapolis was rated the sixth-safest city in North Carolina, while Salisbury checked in at No. 21 in the rankings. Cities with populations of at least 28,000 people were rated based on the FBI’s Uniform Crime Reporting data, U.S. census data, citizen-to-officer ratio, crime trends and severity of crimes.

Kannapolis received a safety score of 80.63 based on its low totals of property and violent crimes. Salisbury earned a safety score of 63.22.

“The evidence has consistently shown that Rowan County is a great place to live, and this data backs that up,” Rod Crider, Rowan EDC president, said in a news release. “With there being 100 counties in North Carolina, it’s certainly significant that both Rowan County cities which meet the minimum populations for this study were rated among the 25 safest in the state, and says a lot about our citizens.”

Holly Springs was rated the safest city in the state, followed by Cary, Cornelius, Huntersville, Wake Forest and Kannapolis.

Charlotte Douglas International Airport airport ranks sixth busiest airport nationwide

The Charlotte Douglas International airport remains the sixth busiest airport in the nation and climbed one spot from 2019 to the sixth busiest airport worldwide in arrivals and departures.

The airport’s standing comes from Airports Council International’s World 2020 preliminary rankings.

Charlotte Douglas International saw its biggest jump in passenger traffic rankings, placing sixth nationwide and 18th worldwide in 2020 versus 11th nationwide and 24th worldwide in 2019.

“Although CLT’s 2020 overall passenger and aircraft operation numbers were significantly lower than in previous years, these rankings put in perspective just how busy we were last year compared to other airports in the U.S. and around the world,” acting Aviation Director Haley Gentry said in a news release. “Charlotte Douglas remained a top-tier hub that passengers and airlines relied on throughout the pandemic.”

For cargo, the airport dipped slightly from 30th nationwide in 2019 to 33rd in 2020. However, it moved up worldwide in cargo to 113th worldwide in 2020 from 118th in 2019.

Last year the Airport served 27.2 million passengers, had 397,983 arrivals and departures and processed 174,913 tons of cargo.

Preliminary rankings are subject to change. ACI World will release final 2020 rankings this fall.

FCC offering program to help eligible families connect to broadband

The Federal Communications Commission recently opened the Emergency Broadband benefit, a program that will offer a discount to help households across the country access the internet.

The program offers a discount of $50 per month for broadband service, of $75 if the household is on tribal land. Eligible recipients can also receive up to $100 to purchase a laptop from participating providers.

“Broadband is absolutely essential for people in North Carolina,” N.C. Attorney General Josh Stein said in a news release. “It helps folks access the economy, telemedicine and education. Eligible North Carolinians should apply to the Emergency Broadband Benefit today to get help accessing this critical resource.”

FCC Acting Chairwoman Jessica Rosenworcel  announced last week that the Emergency Broadband Benefit Program enrolled more than one million households in the first week of the program’s debut.  Households in all 50 states, Washington, D.C., Puerto Rico, the Virgin Islands and American Samoa are benefitting from the subsidy program initiated by Congress.

Eligible households must meet at least one of the following criteria:

• Have an income that is at or below 135% of the Federal Poverty Guidelines or participate in certain assistance programs, such as SNAP, Medicaid, or Lifeline

• Be approved to receive benefits under the free and reduced-price school lunch program or the school breakfast program, including through the USDA Community Eligibility Provision in the 2019-2020 or 2020-2021 school year

• Received a Federal Pell Grant during the current award year

• Experienced a substantial loss of income due to job loss or furlough since February 29, 2020 and the household had a total income in 2020 at or below $99,000 for single filers and $198,000 for joint filers

• Meet the eligibility criteria for a participating provider’s existing low-income or COVID-19 program.

More information can be found online at GetEmergencyBroadband.org.

Restaurant Revitalization Fund set to close application process 

Establishments eligible for the Small Business Administration’s Restaurant Revitalization Fund have until Monday at 8 p.m. to submit their applications.

“If our nation’s food and beverage industry is going to fully recover, we must ensure as many of the hardest-hit businesses get the economic aid they need, SBA Administrator Isabella Casillas Guzman said in a news release. “We are committed to creating easy to navigate programs and removing barriers that have kept many of our nation’s smallest businesses from accessing these crucial economic lifelines. The SBA will continue to be as entrepreneurial as the small businesses we serve, and we will continue to work as fast as possible to deliver the relief our businesses need so urgently.”

The $28.6 billion Restaurant Revitalization Fund signed into law by President Joe Biden established an initial $5 billion set-aside established by Congress for applicants with gross receipts not more than $500,000. 

To further ensure an equitable distribution of funds, Guzman created two additional funding allocations to ensure the smallest of the small restaurants and other eating establishments have equitable access: $500 million for applicants with 2019 gross receipts not more than $50,000, and $4 billion for applicants with 2019 gross receipts between $500,000 and $1,500,000. 

In the first two weeks of the program, and after 600 targeted community outreach events in multiple languages, SBA has received from priority groups 12,898 applications from businesses with not more than $50,000 in pre-pandemic revenue requesting $290 million in funds,  73,671 applications from businesses with not more than $500,000 in annual pre-pandemic revenue requesting $6.1 billion in funds and   34,010 applications from businesses with $500,000 – $1,500,000 in annual pre-pandemic revenue requesting $8.4 billion in funds.

While all qualified restaurants may submit applications before the deadline Monday, more than $220 million of a $500 million set-aside remains in the Restaurant Revitalization Fund. Eligible establishments that meet this revenue standard are encouraged to apply through SBA-recognized point-of-sale vendors or directly via the SBA online application portal at sba.gov/restaurants.

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About Ben Stansell

Ben Stansell covers business, county government and more for the Salisbury Post. He joined the staff in August 2020 after graduating from the University of Alabama. Email him at ben.stansell@salisburypost.com.

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