Local expansion brings ‘tangible results’ to area

Since 2008, unemployment rankings and income levels have been thrown around in conversation by politicians and the average citizen alike. While some believe the “Great Recession” is nearing an end, others think the worst is yet to come. 
Needless to say, economic statistics have filled debate about the financial “crisis” going on in the country.

Catawba County, too, has had its share of economic and unemployment rankings in recent years, but county and local officials say a newly finalized deal will help a local business bring “tangible” economic results to the area that are more than just numbers.    

Catawba County and Conover finalized grants with Catawba County upholstery company LEE Industries this week, inching the local business closer to opening a new facility and bringing more jobs and revenue to the area. 

LEE Industries Inc., an eco-friendly upholstery manufacturing company based in Newton, is investing in $2.5 million renovations to the old Conover Chair facility at 210 Fourth St. SW near downtown Conover.

The company plans on hiring cutters, sewers, spring-up associates, inside and outside upholsterers, shipping personnel and support staff, among other positions. The average pay for the jobs is expected to be about $41,045 — nearly $7,000 more than the average pay for workers living in Catawba County.

LEE  Industries already employs 490 people at its three existing facilities in Newton — jobs that will be retained.
“It’s not just numbers on the page, it is bricks and mortar,” said Donald Duncan, Conover city manager. “The jobs are certainly important because they are going to be good-paying jobs, but it’s also the redeveloping of a mill that was eventually going to be a drag on the city.

At their respective meetings this week, Conover City Council and the Catawba County