County Commissioners Approve Incentives for Candy Production
Lucky County, Incorporated, announced July 19, 2010, that it will begin plans to expand its current facility, located in the Lincoln County Industrial Park, with building machinery and equipment. The company plans to invest approximately 3,000,000 dollars bringing in 3 jobs to Lincoln County.
Lucky Country started producing its world famous Lucky Country soft, gourmet licorice in 2005. Sales of the company’s products have been increasing at double digit rates over the last 4 years.
The company’s products consist of the original black licorice, an “All Natural” black licorice which was introduced 2 years ago, and other flavors including Strawberry, Apple, Pineapple, Black Currant and, the latest, Marionberry. Marionberry is named after Marion County, Oregon, where the Marionberry grows. The flavor is a cross between Raspberry, Blackberry and a few other berries and imparts a luscious, distinctive note to the licorice.
Lenka Dransfield, Founder and President of the company, informs us that the company recently enjoyed a month of record sales.” We have a very loyal customer base which includes retailers such as Costco, Walgreens, Walmart, Whole Foods, Harris Teeter, and Cracker Barrel, to name a few.” “We are also very proud of the fact that we export our Aussie-style licorice to many countries around the world; in fact, we are probably North Carolina’s largest candy exporter”, says Lenka.
Lenka says that she regularly receives emails from Lucky Country’s very devoted fans. “The passion they express for our product, especially the black licorice, is amazing”, says Lenka. “Many of these consumers were introduced to licorice by their grandparents and they will often relate nostalgic stories with fond memories that we have helped rekindle. It is wonderful to be able to make people so happy.” “Having the product made in the USA enables us to deliver it fresh and soft to consumers while still adhering to the same great taste that we used to import from Australia originally”, says Lenka.
Lucky Country has engaged the services of two independent quality testing companies, Silliker Laboratories and the British Retail Consortium (BRC), for the last 3 years to ensure that the quality of its products matches the gourmet quality that consumers expect. Lisa Powell, Quality Assurance Manager for Lucky Country and an NC State Food Science graduate tells us that Lucky Country has consistently improved its grades on the annual inspections performed by both these testing companies. “In the audits performed in 2010, we achieved the highest rankings we have ever achieved. Both grades were A’s”, says Lisa.
As sales of the company’s products have grown and new opportunities have been presented, the factory has sometimes been operating 24/7 to keep up with demand. “In order to supply the growing demand for our products, we are planning the addition of our second production line says Michael Bratt, Controller for Lucky Country. “This will be state-of-the-art equipment”, says Michael.
“We really appreciate the support for Lucky Country that local business leaders have demonstrated. This includes a decision last night by the Lincoln County Commissioners to award us a tax rebate based on our proposed investment”, says Michael. “Our vendors have helped us grow and we were also recently rewarded for our efforts by being able to refinance with RBC Bank (USA), which is fully supportive of this expansion”.
Tom Anderson, board chair for the Lincoln Economic Development Association, comments “We are pleased that Lucky Country, Inc. has decided to expand their operations here in Lincoln County. We believe this is continued evidence of the value Lincoln County places on fostering the success of our existing businesses. We thank Lucky Country for their initial decision to locate their first US facility in Lincoln County and wish them continued success and prosperity as they undertake this significant addition to the economy of Lincoln County.”