Stop In Mocksville For Lunch Leads To New Industry
Sabeti Wain Garrard Aerospace (SWG Aerospace) is investing in Davie County and creating new jobs here.
They are located at 852 US 64 West in Mocksville at the former Eagle Heights Baptist Church.
SWG Aerospace is a division of Sabeti Wain Aerospace, a global leader in the design and manufacture of airline passenger seatcovers with direct sales to more than 20 major international airliners. Sabeti Wain Aerospace is headquartered in the UK with a second production operation in Dubai.
Although it has started with a small team, it is expected that the new company in Mocksville, SWG Aerospace, will grow to about 50 employees. Depending on how well the new company does, the employment numbers could eventually grow to much higher than 50. The Sabetti Wain Aerospace operations in the UK and Dubai manufacturing plants employ 110 and 118 people respectively.
Economic development projects and opportunities come in all shapes and sizes, from huge projects driven by the N.C. Department of Commerce, to more regional projects driven by commercial realtors and developers, down to the “I know someone who knows someone” variety.
And then there are those economic development wins that reflect the values of the people in the community. This is one of those stories.
Sabeti Wain is a supplier to TIMCO Aerosystems in Greensboro. They had discussed locating a facility in the US to support their North American market and TIMCO officials knew that North Carolina would be a great fit.
In May of 2013, Kip Blakely of TIMCO introduced Nick Wain of Sabeti Wain to Penny Whiteheart of the Piedmont Triad Partnership and Melissa Smith of the N.C. Department of Commerce. The hunt for a North Carolina manufacturing location was officially underway.
It was only natural for SWG Aerospace to explore North Carolina for a new manufacturing plant; after all, from the Spirit AeroSystems’ Kinston Plant, on the campus of the N.C. Global TransPark, to GE Aviation’s investment of nearly $200 million in four North Carolina sites and the Honda Aircraft Company World Headquarters at Piedmont Triad International Airport in Greensboro, North Carolina is emerging as the aerospace and aviation capital of the Southeast.
Andrew Garrard, managing director at Sabeti Wain Garrard Aerospace was looking at locations between Charlotte and Hickory and the Piedmont Triad, including Davie County, for his new company.
Garrard stopped at the Mocksville exit on I-40 one day for lunch while travelling across the state. He had been doing the I-40 shuffle, crossing North Carolina to find the perfect location. Mr. Garrard found his way to downtown Mocksville and to Restaurant 101 for lunch.
When he returned to his parked rental car after lunch, Mr. Garrard noted some spots of oil on the hood. He drove two blocks to York’s Exxon in Mocksville and asked if they could take a look. When the hood of the car was opened it was discovered that the oil filler cap was missing which was causing the oil to splash out of the engine. Mr. York had an oil filler cap that fit perfectly. He placed the filler cap onto the engine, shook hands and wished Mr. Garrard safe travels.
“No charge,” he said.
Several weeks later, as he was doing the I-40 shuffle again, still looking for the perfect location, Garrard took the Mocksville exit to enjoy lunch again at Restaurant 101 in Downtown Mocksville.
This time, while eating lunch, Andrew noted a sign for Total Real Estate across the street and decided to spend a few moments learning more about the little community that had treated him so well a few weeks earlier.
During a conversation with Glenn Stanley, Garrard mentioned his hunt for a manufacturing location in North Carolina. Stanley knew that he needed to get Garrard in touch with Terry Bralley, president of the Davie County Economic Development Commission. They walked over to Bralley’s office, Stanley introduced them, and the hunt was on for the perfect location in Davie County for SWG Aerospace.
Several months later, SWG Aerospace is proud to call Davie County home.
SWG Aerospace is a standalone operation. All sales activity, customer liaison, product design and manufacture will be run from the new plant in Mocksville.
Paymen Sabeti, a director at SWA, outlined the reasons behind the new move: “Having a team on the ground in the states allows us to provide a faster and more responsive service to all our customers there. As well as being able to respond to customer orders, we will be able to significantly shorten the product development cycle.
“With new products developed in the UK we have to travel to the states for meetings. Prototypes and new products have to be freighted back and forth before final production takes place. This is time consuming, expensive because of freight and duty costs. We will also cut out all the inevitable delays that occur where international freighting is concerned.
“There are also environmental benefits. Less long-distance freighting means that our carbon footprint will be considerably reduced.”