East: Fresh off the boat

 In April 2016, NC Trend

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Boat owners pledge allegiance to their vessel by wearing clothing emblazoned with its maker’s name and logo, often turning to the Internet or local dealers to suit up. While Beaufort-based Jarrett Bay Boatworks sells its branded clothing in the traditional ways, it’s charting a new course with its latest Raleigh retail store. The idea is to catch image-conscious shoppers willing to shell out $74 for a polo shirt or $30 for a cap, though they may not have the $3 million to $4 million needed to buy a custom Jarrett Bay offshore-fishing boat.

About 30 years ago, Jarrett Bay President Randy Ramsey opted for a captain’s license instead of a college degree. “I wanted to run a charter boat,” he says. Needing a second income, he worked in boatyards between trips. Ramsey, who grew up in Harkers Island in Carteret County, used his new skills, along with help from friends, to build his own boat. Two fellow captains requested custom boats, and his business was underway. The company now builds about three boats a year and offers marine-repair and real-estate development services, employing about 175.

Clothing was always part of the plan. “We started doing T-shirts for the boat owners and crews,” Ramsey says. Demand for apparel grew, so he opened a Beaufort store about 20 years ago. Clothing is designed in North Carolina and manufactured in Los Angeles. Jarrett Bay entered Raleigh with a Crabtree Valley Mall store in November 2014, then moved to a 1,218-square-foot location at nearby mixed-use development North Hills late last year. Raleigh-based HagerSmith Design PA designed the store, which uses rustic wood, whitewashed cabinets and a scale replica of a 71-foot hull to reinforce the company’s brand — a luxurious coastal life — with shoppers. Revenue from Jarrett Bay clothing, including supplying apparel to stores in the Carolinas and Florida, reached $1 million in 2015, Ramsey says.

Pride in North Carolina and a preference for homegrown products are propelling the business, he says. Ramsey shares that pride and gives back to the state he says has given much to him. An N.C. State University trustee since 2009, he and his wife, Tiffany, have made the largest gifts to date to the university’s equine sports medicine program.


RICHMOND COUNTY – Aided by $1.3 million in state incentives, RSI Home Products will invest $5.8 million over five years in a 300,000-square-foot manufacturing plant, creating 175 jobs. The Anaheim, Calif.-based company makes kitchen, bath and home-storage cabinetry.

CASTLE HAYNE – Titan Group suspended construction of a $450 million cement plant that would have created 160 jobs. The Athens, Greece-based company said the market no longer supports the cost of building the plant.

KINSTON – West Pharmaceutical Services will invest $19 million in its local plant, where it makes syringe components and IV bag injection ports. The Exton, Pa.-based company employs 350 workers; no new jobs are planned.

ROCKINGHAM – Perdue Farms will invest $10.9 million in its local poultry-processing plant, adding 30 workers over three years. The Salisbury, Md.-based company employs more than 3,400 people in the state.

HAMLET – Plastek will invest $2.5 million in a plant expansion and hire 23 workers. The Erie, Pa.-based company makes more than 1.5 million deodorant containers a day at the local plant.

WILMINGTON – UNC School of Medicine opened a campus at New Hanover Regional Medical Center. Joseph Pino, vice president of medical education at NHRMC, will direct the program.

WILMINGTON – Cornelius-based Aquesta Bank plans to open its first full-service branch here in the second quarter, two years after opening a loan-production office. The bank’s insurance affiliate has had an office here for eight years.


President Obama abandoned a plan that would have allowed drilling for oil and gas along the southeastern coast, reversing his previous stance and eliciting outrage from Gov. Pat McCrory, who said the practice could have created thousands of new jobs. “President Obama’s total reversal can only be described as a special political favor to far-left activists that have no problem importing energy resources from countries hostile to the United States,” McCrory said in a statement. Concerned about environmental impact and potential loss of tourism dollars, at least 110 municipalities, including 32 in North Carolina, have passed resolutions opposing offshore drilling (Statewide, July 2015).

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