Gates County welcomes Marco

Published 9:15 am Tuesday, May 12, 2009

GATESVILLE – The sky overhead may have been cloudy, but the mood was bright as Gates County rolled out the red carpet to formally welcome a new business here Monday morning.

In a ribbon-cutting ceremony held at Gates County Farm Service in downtown Gatesville, The Marco Company staked its claim to a warehouse that will be used as a light assembly and East Coast distribution center for the Fort Worth, Texas-based company.

“We welcome you to Gates County; we feel you have made the right selection,” said Gates County Manager Toby Chappell as he led off the 9 a.m. ceremony.

Gates County Board of Commissioners Chairman Henry Jordan echoed that welcome, adding…“We are a rural community with a warm heart. There are great expectations of what The Marco Company can bring to our county.”

“You picked a great spot with a great workforce,” added Commission Vice-Chair Kenneth Jernigan.

For Steve Mitchell, Eastern Operations Manager for The Marco Company, it was like coming home.

“I’m an eastern North Carolina native,” said Mitchell, born in New Bern and currently residing in Greenville. “We see this as a great fit for The Marco Company, a family-oriented business in a family-oriented county and town. I felt welcomed the very first time I stepped foot in this county.”

As far as the company’s decision to expand, Mitchell said Gates County was chosen based on two very important criteria – its strategic location near the Port of Norfolk as well as it being centralized on the East Coast and because of the support shown within the local community.

“After meeting with (Gates County Farm Service owner) Paul Askew and his family, you could feel that local support,” Mitchell noted. “We need to also thank the Northeast Commission for their guidance as well as the Town of Gatesville and Gates County government officials.”

Askew said the presence of The Marco Company and the employment opportunities they bring to Gates County is needed.

“We are in need of positive economic growth in our county and we welcome The Marco Company,” Askew remarked. “Thank-you for choosing us and thank-you to the Northeast Commission, to Toby and his staff and to the commissioners for working to bring this new business to our county. We hope this sets a precedent for future growth.”

As for the Northeast Commission, President/CEO Vann Rogerson said he wakes up every morning dreaming of days like this.

“It’s a wonderful day for Gates County and for all of northeastern North Carolina,” Rogerson noted. “We’re very excited to welcome The Marco Company.”

Another form of excitement came from the fledging Gates County Chamber of Commerce. Its director, Ann Askew, was thrilled to have the chamber perform its very first ribbon-cutting ceremony.

Following the ceremony, Mitchell told the Roanoke-Chowan News-Herald that the target date is early June to have the company up and running in Gates County.

“It’s our hope that we’ll be able to create more business, generate new customers, as this new strategic location will make us more competitive from a distribution standpoint,” he said.

Initially, the company plans to employ up to five people in its warehouse, assembly and distribution facility – a 22,500 square foot warehouse leased from Gates County Farm Service.

The Marco Company sells and distributes merchandising solutions for the retail industry, including specialty shelving and fixtures that are used to display food and other merchandise in grocery and department stores.

The company traces its roots to 1984 where Darrell and David Cooper had a vision of creating a company that would provide innovative merchandising solutions for the retail industry. Currently, the company includes over 500 employees and one million square feet of manufacturing and warehouse space.