Governor Cooper makes a visit to Hickory – The Observer News Enterprise

He came to learn about how small business impacts the local economy.

Cooper specifically came to tour the Design Foundry, a business that the state granted incentives to in 2019.

For the next 12 years, the state of North Carolina will give $1.5 million to the company to help promote the furniture industry.

Along with the $1.5 million, the City of Hickory has agreed to also give the Design Foundry over $34,000 in incentives.

The hope is that the small company, with 70 employees, will create at least 200 more jobs over the next five years.

Governor Cooper expressed his satisfaction with the business and also the local furniture industry in general.

“Furniture manufacturing is alive and well in North Carolina,” he said. “And particularly in the Catawba County area.”

He went on to say that the state needs to continue investing in education and training for manufacturing employees.

After speaking with the Design Foundry’s CEO, Eric Fulcher, Cooper also spoke to several plant employees.

Topics discussed were skill gaps, Second Amendment rights, and the state’s budget.

Copper wants to use unemployment insurance to help recruit people to areas where skilled labor is needed.

He says he will set up scholarships specifically for work fields where there is increased demand.

As for Second Amendment sanctuaries, Cooper says he’s a supporter of gun rights.

However, he wants to implement what he calls “common sense gun regulation.”

Addressing the long-running state budget standoff, Copper says he wants compromise. The two topics he’s referring to are teacher pay and expansion of Medicaid.

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“I think most people understand that we need to pay our teachers more and we need to get working people covered with health insurance,” he said.



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