Jimbo’s Jumbos to expand

Published 9:18 pm Monday, March 9, 2015

EDENTON – Peanuts may have taken a backseat to other farm crops, but one longtime staple of the state’s farming community is leading to job opportunities.

In an announcement on Monday, Governor Pat McCrory, N.C. Commerce Secretary John E. Skvarla III and the Economic Development Partnership of N.C. said Jimbo’s Jumbos, Inc. will expand its operations in Chowan County and create 78 new jobs over the next three years.  The company plans to invest $30 million in the city of Edenton over the same period.

“Peanuts are one of our state’s traditional crops, with North Carolina peanuts and peanut products being shipped all over the world for people to enjoy,” said McCrory. “North Carolina is one of the top states in the nation in peanut production and exported more than $12 million in peanuts last year.”

Headquartered in Edenton, Jimbo’s Jumbos is a manufacturer of peanut products including roasted and salted peanuts in the shell, peanut butter, granulated peanuts, oil roasted and dry roasted peanuts.  The company currently has 208 employees in Chowan County.

Jimbo’s Jumbos is part of the Hampton Farms family of companies. Hampton Farms is based in Severn in Northampton County where Severn Peanut, and Meherrin Agricultural also operate.

“Americans consume more than 12 pounds of peanuts per person each year,” said Skvarla.  “This expansion by Jimbo’s Jumbos will help make sure there are enough North Carolina peanuts available to meet the growing demand.”

Salaries will vary by job but will include fork lift drivers, quality control, manufacturing supervisors and office clerical. The average annual payroll will exceed $2.4 million.

“As more people have become aware of the great nutritional value of peanuts, customer demand has been increasing steadily,” said Hal Burns, general manager of the Jimbo’s Jumbos division. “This expansion here in Edenton is necessary for us to keep up with that demand.”

The project was made possible in part by a performance-based grant from the One North Carolina Fund of up to $156,000. The One NC Fund provides financial assistance, through local governments, to attract business projects that will stimulate economic activity and create new jobs in the state. Companies receive no money up front and must meet job creation and investment performance standards to qualify for grant funds. These grants also require and are contingent upon local matches.

On Dec. 27, 2013, McCrory pardoned Linwood Paul Britton, a longtime employee of Jimbo’s Jumbos, Inc. Britton started with the company 35 years ago in a work release program when he was an inmate at the correctional institution in Elizabeth City and is now Vice President of Operations. Britton took the lead on planning today’s announcement and runs the plant in Edenton along with two others.

“This is such a great and heartwarming story. When I first talked to Paul by phone two days before Christmas in 2013, I was thoroughly impressed with his story and continued to be impressed as he takes this opportunity and makes the best of it,” said McCrory.

“This is welcome news for Edenton and the Chowan County community,” said Representative Bob Steinburg.  “I look forward to working with Governor McCrory to bring even more jobs to our area in the future.”

“Congratulations to Jimbo’s Jumbos for deciding to make this investment in Chowan County,” said State Senator Erica Smith-Ingram. “This expansion and the new jobs it will create will have a large economic impact on our area.”

In addition to the N.C. Department of Commerce and the Economic Development Partnership of N.C., other partners that helped with this project include: North Carolina Community College System, College of the Albemarle, NCDOT, the Edenton Chowan Partnership, the Town of Edenton and Chowan County.