Lumber Wholesaler Finds New Building
Locust Lumber Co., the previously unnamed wholesaler that prompted a review of permissable uses in the Southern Pines Corporate Park, has leased the former Sunpak Foods building on U.S. 1 south of Vass.
The decision ends the company’s yearlong search for space in Moore County to serve customers — mainly contractors in the home-building and renovation industry — within a 50-mile radius.
“We have been looking at other markets for a number of years, and the Southern Pines-Pinehurst area just seemed to open up for us,” said Leon Huneycutt, co-owner of the Locust-based company.
Locust Lumber, which also has a satellite office in Monroe, already has 10 employees in Vass and is adding 10,000 square feet of warehouse space to the 16,000-square-foot building.
“Hopefully, we’ll have that project completed by the middle of February and be adding employees,” Huneycutt said.
Huneycutt confirmed that Locust Lumber was the lumber wholesaler eyeing the Southern Pines Corporate Park last fall until being told the North American Industry Classification System (NAICS) code for its industry was not allowed in the park under section 172 of the town’s Unified Development Ordinance (UDO).
The Southern Pines Planning Board held a work session earlier this month to consider adding industries from the NAICS list. Any additions approved by the board must also be approved by the Town Council.
NAICS is the standard used by federal statistical agencies in classifying business establishments for the purpose of collecting, analyzing and publishing statistical data related to the U.S. business economy.
It was developed under the auspices of the federal Office of Management and Budget and adopted in 1997 to replace the Standard Industrial Classification (SIC) system.
Pat Corso, executive director of Partners in Progress, said he is glad that Locust Lumber stayed in Moore County.
“It’s an encouraging sign because it means the company perceives that there’s more business opportunity in this market than in the Charlotte market,” Corso said. “Even though things didn’t work out at the Corporate Park, they are obviously committed to our market.”
Corso and his predecessor, Ray Ogden, met with Huneycutt last fall.
“We took him out on the typical tour of all the different buildings that were available,” Corso said. “He felt that the opportunity for him was servicing from a Southern Pines or Aberdeen location. Leon was in a hurry. He wanted to do it yesterday.”
Corso received a call several weeks later from Janice Dixon, owner of Synergy Commercial Properties.
“Her client was Leon, and they were inquiring about the flex building in the Corporate Park,” Corso said.
Dixon said Locust Lumber and RAB Investments Inc., which developed and owns the park, were negotiating a lease when the town told them that “retail wasn’t allowed” in the park.
“The town told us we’d have to go through rezoning,” Dixon said.
Roy Harvel, owner of U.S. 1 Realty, brokered the deal that led to Locust Lumber signing a long-term lease with the owner of the former Sunpak building.
“There was industrial zoning under Sunpak, so we had to get it rezoned to B-2, which is like the General Business designation in most municipalities,” Harvel said. “Locust Lumber has a nucleus of employees that know the market and the building trade. I also think they’ll be a good corporate citizen.”
Sunpak, a private label manufacturer of organic fruit products, started production in late 2008 and shut down shortly thereafter.
“I would say Sunpak had about six months of production,” Ogden said. “They kind of packed up and disappeared. I don’t know the details. I’m just glad somebody is in that building. It’s a nice building in a nice location.”
The building is on five acres, which has enabled Locust Lumber to not only expand, but store products inside the building and out.
“We’re very excited to be there and look forward to serving everyone in Moore and the surrounding counties,” Huneycutt said.
Contact Ted M. Natt Jr. at firstname.lastname@example.org.
More like this story