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Aberdeen Gets Grant to Help Business Expand


A $150,000 grant to the town of Aberdeen from the North Carolina Rural Center will help a local business expand its operation and add 30 new jobs.

The Building Use and Restoration grant will help Meridian Zero Degrees defray the cost of refurbishing a 12,000-square-foot building. The Rural Center announced the awarding of the grant Thursday.

The Pilot was unable to reach Meridian founder and CEO Chris Gilder before press time. He said in a previous story that the expansion, which is expected to be completed by the end of the year, will help the company’s work all flow one way, from raw materials to finished products, rather than coming in and then going back out the same door.

The building reuse grants are given to prepare vacant buildings for use by job-generating businesses and support the expansion and renovation of occupied buildings if that work leads to new, permanent jobs. Funding is provided by the N.C. General Assembly.

Moore County Partners in Progress helped the company apply for the grant. Executive Director Pat Corso said the grant is important to help business in Moore County grow.

“One of the exciting things about this grant is that it recognizes local entrepreneurship,” Corso said. “It is the best insurance we have to help maintain this type of advanced manufacturing company here and help them grow. They (Meridian Zero owners Chris and Christa Gilder) have chosen to stay here, and this grant is playing an important role in creating jobs necessary for their long-term growth.”

Meridian might not be a household name, but for anyone who has used a self-serve kiosk or device, chances are they are one of the company’s products. Its long list of clients includes McDonald’s, Walmart, Macy’s, Home Depot and Food Lion.

The grant is necessary because the company, which was founded in 1999, has experienced steady growth each year. Earlier this year, Gilder said this year’s jump has been “phenomenal.” That growth has spurred the need for more manufacturing space.

“It just so happened that it was perfect timing,” said Jae Kim, community development planner for Aberdeen. “They are doing so much business. They need to move things around to make their operation more efficient.”

As part of the grant, Aberdeen will provide a 5 percent match, or $7,500, toward the grant amount, which is based on $5,000 per job created.

The local grant was among 37 totaling 5.4 million to create jobs, provide clean water, and assist with economic development in rural counties.

The grants will create 587 jobs and assist projects benefiting 34 counties.

The grants were approved by the center’s board Dec. 5 and made possible by appropriations from the N.C. General Assembly and state clean water bonds.

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Contact Tom Embrey at (910) 693-2484 or tembrey@thepilot.com.