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Newcomers Give LEDA Good Reviews

Owners of two new Lincoln County businesses say the Lincoln Economic Development Association played a role in their choosing to open up here. Robert W. Garcia, owner and president of R.W. Garcia Co., and Doug Herbert, owner of Doug Herbert Racing, Doug Herbert Performance Center and Always on the Edge Sportswear, thanked the association and the community for the support they’ve received since deciding on Lincoln as the location for their businesses. Both men attended LEDA’s annual meeting held Thursday at Verdict Ridge Country Club along with association members. R.W. Garcia will move into a 60,650 square foot building in the Lincoln County Industrial Park. The company, which makes all natural tortilla chips, will initially have one line and one shift and employ 15 to 20 people within a year. Manufacturing should begin by September. Garcia said he has appreciated community members’ support during his association with Lincoln County. “It’s really a great experience going through that,” Garcia said. “We just want to thank you all for the great performance on your behalf to us.” Race car driver and entrepreneur Doug Herbert echoed Garcia. His decision to move his operations from Cherryville to Lincolnton had a lot to do with LEDA’s and the community’s efforts, he said. “I can’t believe the amount of people who have contacted me and are excited about us moving over there,” Herbert said. Herbert is moving his companies into the former Hugger textile plant, an 80,000 square foot facility on East Gaston Street Extension. He’ll initially employ 50 people but eventually hopes to hire 50 more, he said. Herbert spoke passionately about drag racing, saying the true feeling of the race can’t be experienced by watching it on television. “The sound and smell and excitement of these cars is unbelievable,” he said. Herbert hopes to begin doing business out of the Lincolnton facility be the end of July. Also during the meeting, LEDA board members and staff ran through the past year’s accomplishments and the coming year’s goals. Along with major industry expansions and relocations involving millions of dollars and hundreds of jobs, LEDA also implemented International Business Appreciation Week, updated Lincoln County maps, broke ground on a new light industrial park, made improvements to the Lincoln County Industrial Park and continued supporting existing businesses. New plans for the future include giving Milestone Achievement Awards for industries; creating an industry resource book; holding a golf tournament at Verdict Ridge to showcase Lincoln County and spark interest; starting up economic development advisory committees, specifically one in the eastern end of the county; continuing to work on marketing strategies; and supporting water and sewer for the Lincolnton-Lincoln County Regional Airport.