Southern Hospitality Plays a Role in New Davie County Manufacturing Plant
A company based in the United Kingdom has established a facility and is creating new jobs in Davie County. But how SWG Aerospace found just the right place to put down American roots is a story of simple Southern hospitality.
SWG Aerospace is a division of Sabeti Wain Aerospace, a global leader in the design and manufacture of airline passenger seat covers. And, as Terry Bralley, the President of the Davie County Economic Development Commission explains, the Piedmont seemed to have just what they were looking for. “They have operations in the UK and Dubai; this will be their first US operation, and they have a lot of customers in the area like B E Aerospace, Timco and others, so they are trying to build their U.S. operation and this is their startup.”
A few months back, Andrew Garrard, who’s from London and is the Managing Director at SWG Aerospace, was looking at locations for the company and stopped at the Mocksville exit on I-40.
“Mr. Garrard had looked at a lot of locations and communities in North and South Carolina and certainly with B E Aerospace and Timco being so close to Davie County, I think on his way going to one of those companies in a rental car. He stopped for lunch here one day. He went down to our local service station, one of the only full service stations still here in town,” says Bralley.
And while visiting Mocksville, Garrard had the good fortune to meet service station owner Junior York. York says he struck up a good conversation with him.
“I went out and waited on him and I started talking with him. He seemed like a nice guy and he said he was from London, England and that he was maybe hunting for a place to open a factory here. I talked with him if I could check the oil in the car and check everything but he said don’t worry about it because it was a rental car. Afterward, they started to leave but stopped and came back having second thoughts and said maybe you should check the oil. I raised the hood and checked the oil and when I did I noticed that someone had left the oil cap off and oil blew all over the motor. We washed off the motor and went and bought him a new oil cap and put it on and he really appreciated that,” says York.
Junior York didn’t charge Garrard for that oil cap, either. And he left with a warm spot in his heart for the folks in Mocksville. So a few weeks later Garrard was in the area again, still looking for the perfect location, and made a stop in Mocksville, where, again, he found the folks there to be so friendly. He thought it might just be the perfect place to locate the American home of SWG Aerospace.
While having lunch at Restaurant 101, he noticed a sign for the Total Real Estate Company across the street, and that led him to a conversation with Realtor Glenn Stanley, who, in turn, put Garrard in touch with Terry Bralley. Now, several months later, SWG Aerospace is calling Davie County Home. They’ve opened their U.S. location at the former Eagle Heights Baptist Church on US-64 in Mocksville. They’ll be bringing 50 or so jobs to the area and, Bralley says, it’s all because of one friendly service station owner.
“Every citizen we have is an ambassador for us and economic development is a team sport. And it is going to take an entire community collaborating and working with each other to make things like this happen,” said Bralley. And as for Junior York, the friendly service station owner? He’s pleased that he could help.
“I’m glad some jobs are coming to Mocksville because it seems like everything is moving the other way, but we need some industry and jobs here in town to help everyone around here.”
So not long from now, when you fly on any number of airlines, the cover on your seat may well have come from Mocksville. And it’s all because of good old southern hospitality.