New company bringing 55 jobs to Carroll

By Michael Howlett Staff Writer

October 29, 2013

A large throng of state, county and town officials, as well as interested citizens and business leaders, gathered on Oct. 29 to welcome a new business to Carroll County. Classic Creations announced the creation of 55 new jobs with an investment of $1.4 million in its commercial screen printing facility located in the Carroll County Industrial Park.

CEO Keith Sanders said his new company is the fulfillment of a “lifelong dream.”

In September of 2012, Sanders began exploring the possibility of bringing a new screen print facility to Southern Virginia or North Carolina.

“The general thought was that a trusted facility which produced a quality product along with great customer service would be welcomed in the industry,” he said.

As he explored the feasibility of such a venture, Sanders said he quickly narrowed his search to Carroll County. The main reasons behind his choice were the high quality of an available work force, the availability of a facility that “fit” the requirements Classic Creations needed in square footage, curb appeal, lower startup costs, accessibility to transportation routes, and lower operation costs.

“Additionally, a very significant contributing factor was the hard work put forward by Carroll County Administrator Gary Larrowe, the Carroll County Industrial Development Authority, the Carroll County Board of Supervisors, the Virginia Tobacco Commission, Blue Ridge Crossroads, and the cooperation of the Town of Hillsville. All of these entities worked hard and partnered together to provide the incentives and assistance that helped to bring the project to Carroll County,” said Sanders.

“During this process I determined that I would need a financial partner that would bring equity and collateral to the project as well. At the recognition of a needed equity partner, Greg Crowder stepped forward to invest in the project and is now a partner in the operation. Greg has over 20 years of experience in the industry; marketing, wholesaling and distributing products for NASCAR and other related entities.”

Sanders also announced that Crowder would be closing his warehouses in Monroe, N.C., and moving his distribution of NASCAR merchandizing to Classic Creation’s facility, which would create even more new jobs.

Classic Creations will provide high-tech screen printing, embroidery, art, packaging, warehousing and fulfillment services to the nationwide imprinted apparel market. It will be a state-of-the art-facility that will provide contract and full package programs to major retailers, manufacturers, licensing companies and promotional product distributors.

Sanders said Classic Creations will unitize all the newest equipment, techniques and fashion innovations in the industry. Its products will be distributed nationwide and produce products for NASCAR, the National Football League, Major League Baseball and the National Hockey League, as well as for catalog mail order, Cracker Barrel Restaurants, colleges and universities, corporations, private label apparel brands and major retailers.

Sanders said he expected Classic Creations to generate $2 million in sales the first year of operation and continue to grow from that point.

“Classic Creations will be the benchmark screen print facility that all other facilities across the nation will be measured. And we plan to keep the number one spot in the industry by developing new processes, utilizing the latest equipment and having the best workforce available. It is the combination of place, people, passion and purpose in Carroll County that will allow us to prosper,” he said.

Sanders added that Classic Creations will also be a strong member of the community.

“We will support the community of Carroll County and Hillsville by becoming involved with you. Greg and I are also committed to developing an atmosphere of wellness for our employees in order that they will enjoy working for Classic Creations for many years into the future,” he said.

Among the dignitaries present for the announcement were Deputy Secretary of Commerce & Trade Mary Rae Carter, who presented Sanders and Crowder with an American Flag that had flown over the capitol, and State Senator Bill Carrico, a member of the Tobacco Commission, which provided Classic Creations with a $175,000 grant.

A statement released by Gov. Bob McDonnell read, in part, “Classic Creations was established to fulfill a niche, and we celebrate that the company chose Virginia and Carroll County as home to its retail products operation for the sports and motorsports industries. This project is a great fit for the recreation interests of the region, and the capital investment and new job creation is outstanding for Carroll County. We welcome Classic Creations to the Commonwealth, and remain ready to do what we can to facilitate the company’s success.”