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LINCOLNTON, NC-This town of 10,400 residents, about 40 miles northwest of Charlotte, will not be losing two companies that were thinking about moving out of town. Instead, the firms are expanding and adding new jobs to their payrolls.

General Shoelace is planning a two-phased expansion, the first of which will begin in October. When both phases are completed, the 72,000-sf addition will create about 70 new jobs for Lincoln County. The company now employs about 190 workers.

Phase I will cost about $1 million and consist of 4,000 sf of office space and 20,000 sf of manufacturing space, according to company president and owner Michael Raus. Phase II, consisting of a 48,000-sf manufacturing facility, will occur throughout next year, adding about 50-60 new jobs.

The company makes retail shoelaces, accessories for swimwear and sweat suits, and webbing used in industry. General Shoelace merged last year with Providence, RI-based Wm. Jette Co., a similar company.

Lincolnton-based American Licensed Products Inc., a licensee for Harley-Davidson merchandise, is also undergoing a major expansion and expects to add at least 100 new jobs by the end of the year, more than tripling its present work force of 40, states company president Mike Miller.

The first part of a two-phased, $2-million expansion is already in progress. The company recently consolidated its distribution, manufacturing and other offices in an 85,000-sf former T-shirt plant at 1443 Gaston St.

Before consolidation, the company was using six smaller buildings. Only 45,000 sf of the new space is being used in the expansion’s first phase. In the expansion’s second phase, which begins in November, the company will screen-print T-shirts targeted to a college audience.

Over the years, the company has imported most of its products, but the expansion will allow quicker turnaround times for domestic production, according to Miller.

Before deciding to expand, both companies had considered new sites. Lincoln County provides financial incentives to companies that invest at least $1 million to build or expand in the county, according to Barry Matherly, director of the Lincoln Economic Development Association.

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