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Food Processing is Heating Up Around Rocky Mount

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In the last decade or so, more and more food processing companies have set up shop in eastern North Carolina. According to data from the Carolinas Gateway Partnership, an agency dedicated to economic development in Nash and Edgecombe counties, at least a dozen food processing companies are located within a 30-mile radius of Rocky Mount.The agency notes several factors that contribute to this clustering, including the excellent highway system, business-friendly tax rates, and attractive incentives from state and local governments and from the Golden Leaf Foundation. But the reasons most often cited? The area’s convenient central East Coast location and its motivated and talented workforce.

For Belgium-based Poppies International, those factors, as well as reliable electric service, have helped drive the company’s success in its U.S. headquarters in Rocky Mount for the past 17 years.
Poppies International ships its frozen cream puffs and mini éclairs to buyers across the United States, Canada, and Asia. Its location in Rocky Mount’s Whitaker Business & Industry Center means easy access to Interstate 95 and U.S. Highway 64, as well as proximity to the Port of Norfolk.

With Poppies’ automated production systems, refrigeration requirements, and round-the-clock operation, reliable electric service is critical. The company worked with Rocky Mount Public Utilities to install a generator that not only serves as emergency back-up power, it switches on at times of peak electricity use to help reduce the cost. Poppies’ controller, Bobby Davis, says, “We’re very happy with the reliability of power and water and for the responsive customer service we get from the City of Rocky Mount.”

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