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Textile Firm May Grow in Lincoln

McMurray Fabrics, Inc. is proposing a $2.56 million investment that would expand its Lincolnton dyeing and finishing operations and add 20 textile jobs over the next two years.

Officials of the Aberdeen-based company, which employs about 100 workers at its Flint Street plant in Lincolnton and 100 at its headquarters, will seek the city’s and county’s help.

Company officials have applied for $77,352 in incentive grants that would be paid in equal installments over five years, totaling $40,643 for the county and $36,709 for the city.

Lincolnton City Council members will hear the request Thursday, and the Lincoln Board of County Commissioners will hear it Monday.

In Lincolnton, the project faces hurdles.

McMurray’s wastewater output must meet pollution parameters set by the state, said Lincolnton City Manager Jeff Emory.

“It’s a matter of will it meet the levels we need for it to meet to be in compliance with the city’s wastewater treatment permit,” Emory said. Lincolnton’s newly renovated wastewater treatment plant is undergoing testing to determine the answer to that question, he said.

The company’s expansion would reverse what’s become a textile industry trend of plant closings and downsizing. La-Z-Boy closed its Lincoln County office furniture department in June 2001, laying off 130 workers. Carolina Mills closed Plant No. 5 that same year, laying off 120 workers.

McMurray’s investment would comprise $1,780,000 in machinery and equipment; a $750,000 plant upgrade; and $30,000 for office furnishings.

The Lincolnton operation puts the finishing touches on underwear and medical and automotive fabrics. The Aberdeen plant does knitting.

Lincoln Economic Development Association officials are giddy about the prospects of the expansion, which would bring jobs with starting pay averaging about $11 an hour.

“We’re excited about the possibility of a textile company expanding with so many closing,” said Laura Foor, LEDA’s existing business coordinator. Foor said company officials would like to start the project before July 1.

Sharon Ferrell, McMurray’s director of finance and administration, declined to comment further on the project, except to confirm that the company has applied for the incentive grants.

In 1999, the company invested $4 million in a 65,000-square-foot addition to the then 100,000-square-foot Lincolnton plant.