Peanut processor to add 78 jobs

Home / NCEast Alliance / Peanut processor to add 78 jobs

Jimbo’s Jumbos plans to expand its peanut processing facility in Edenton to create 78 new jobs, Gov. Pat McCrory announced Monday morning.

McCrory, who was visiting Edenton, said the expansion is being driven by worldwide demand for Virginia-type peanuts, which he said he prefers to call “North Carolina peanuts” since many are grown in northeastern North Carolina.

Jimbo’s Jumbos plans to expand its peanut processing facility in Edenton to create 78 new jobs, Gov. Pat McCrory announced Monday morning.

McCrory, who was visiting Edenton, said the expansion is being driven by worldwide demand for Virginia-type peanuts, which he said he prefers to call “North Carolina peanuts” since many are grown in northeastern North Carolina.

Jimbo’s Jumbos currently employs 208 workers in Chowan County. State officials said the new jobs created by the expansion would include forklift drivers, quality control workers, manufacturing supervisors and clerical employees. The company’s average annual payroll will exceed $2.4 million, according to state officials.

McCrory celebrated the role of the state’s One North Carolina Fund in helping ensure the expansion took place in Edenton. The fund is providing a performance-based grant to Jimbo’s Jumbos of up to $156,000, according to state officials.

In addition, the town of Edenton has received a Community Development Block Grant loan of more than $560,000 to upgrade infrastructure to support the expansion.

“Good, old-fashioned jobs with a stable company are the pathway to growth,” McCrory said.

McCrory said it was especially gratifying to make the plant expansion announcement in the northeastern part of the state, an area that has been hit especially hard by job losses but now is seeing an improvement in its economy and employment.

He also said it was exciting to be announcing new jobs at a company that makes things, and makes them from agricultural products grown in this county and region.

The state was built on industries that make things, build things and grow things, he said.

“This plant makes things from things that we grow,” McCrory said. “Isn’t it great to hear of someone expanding in manufacturing and production?”

In celebrating what he often calls the “Carolina Comeback,” McCrory cited the personal turnaround story of Paul Britton, Jimbo’s Jumbo’s vice president of operations.

Britton started work at the peanut processor 35 years ago on a work release program from the state prison in Pasquotank County, McCrory said.

He earned his GED degree while working at the plant, McCrory said, and “now he is running this plant and two other company plants and he is vice president of this company. This is the kind of comeback story that we need to promote and celebrate.”

McCrory noted he had called Britton on Dec. 23, 2013, to inform him he was granting him a full, unconditional pardon.

The 78 new jobs being created at Jimbo’s Jumbos could offer that same kind of second chance for someone else, and someone who gets one of these jobs also could end up becoming a vice president of the company, McCrory said.

Hal Burns, Jumbo’s Jumbos general manager, said he appreciated the state stepping up and supporting the expansion, along with town and county officials and the Edenton Chowan Partnership.

The Partnership played a big role by donating 8.8 acres for the new facility, Burns said.

Burns explained that the company adds to the economy in more ways that just through its own employees. For instance, local and regional farmers grow peanuts; then sell them through a company such as Virginia Fork Produce; they are shelled by Severn Peanut Company in Northampton County; then delivered to processing plants.

After Jimbo’s Jumbos processes the peanuts, JLA handles quality assurance, Burns said.

John Baker has five trucks he uses to haul the peanuts out of town, Burns said. And then later many of the peanuts will end up back in Edenton on the shelves of Food Lion, Walgreens or CVS, he said.

A number of local and regional officials, including state Reps. Bob Steinburg, R-Chowan, and Howard Hunter III, D-Hertford, were on hand for McCrory’s announcement at Jimbo’s Jumbos.

“Edenton is very privileged to have this company in our midst,” Mayor Roland Vaughan said.

The announcement of the 78 new jobs at the peanut processor is an example of the community making history, Vaughan said.

“Not only do we preserve history, but every now and then we make it,” Vaughan said.

Chowan Board of Commissioners Chairman Jeff Smith said that as a peanut farmer he was especially proud to see the local economy expanding through peanut processing.

“Seventy-eight new jobs is dramatic for Chowan County,” Smith said.

By Reggie Ponder
Chowan Herald