Friday, 02 February 2018 01:22

TOP STORY: Hamlet's Therafirm Awarded "Top Rural Exporter of North Carolina" by Governor Roy Cooper

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Therafirms’s Ken Hartley, VP of N.C. Operations, and Leigh Ann Locklear, Sales Operations Manager, with Top Rural Exporter Award at Governor’s Mansion.  Therafirms’s Ken Hartley, VP of N.C. Operations, and Leigh Ann Locklear, Sales Operations Manager, with Top Rural Exporter Award at Governor’s Mansion. Contributed photo.

HAMLET – Therafirm, a division of Knit-Rite, Inc., a manufacturer of compression socks and hosiery, has been recognized as the Top Rural Exporter of North Carolina for 2017.  The award was presented by N.C. Governor Roy Cooper to company officials at the Governor’s Mansion in Raleigh on Wednesday.  


The export award program recognizes five North Carolinia companies annually for international trade. In addition to the award received by Therafirm, the program also includes accolades for Top Small Business Exporter, Top Large Business Exporter, Top Global Reach Exporter and Top New Exporter. 

The ceremony is kept low key with a total of only 36 people in attendance  between the five winning companies to allow recipients a more personal experience with the Governor.

“Exporting our goods and services into the global marketplace plays an important role in growing jobs and our economy,” Governor Cooper said at the ceremony. “This year’s Export Award honors companies whose products and ideas represent North Carolina’s strong business reputation around the world.”

For Therafirm, this award has been many years in the making.  Therafirm became a division of Knit-Rite in 2000, and then in 2012, the company set out on a mission to grow both domestically, as well as in overseas markets.  By 2013, a new state-of-the-art manufacturing facility was completed as the company made its move from Ellerbe to Hamlet. 

In 2016, Michelle Byrne, international accounts manager, was challenged by senior management to grow the export business.  Byrne first reached out to Martie Butler, Richmond County Economic Director.  Butler then connected Byrne with the Economic Development Partnership of North Carolina (EDPNC), which has a division that specializes in assisting companies looking to grow their export business. 

“They (Therafirm) hit the ground running and grew their export business 23 percent in 2017,” Butler said. “Therafirm has been an awesome economic partner for Richmond County. They have utilized nearly every program the county or state has offered.

“They area true testament to how a company can grow when they partner with their local county and state governments,” Butler added.

 

Contributed Photo: Leigh Ann Locklear, Martie Butler, Governor Roy Cooper, Gene McLaurin and Ken Hartley.

According to Ken Hartley, Vice President of North Carolina Operations for Therafirm, Knit-Rite, “Michelle was able to gain invaluable information, experience and direction from John Loyack, Vice President of Global Business Services for EDPNC.” 

Following her first meeting with Loyack and discussions on trade shows and how the EDPNC could assist with international support and introductions, Hartley noted that Loyack “looked at Michelle and said ‘where do you want to go?’ She replied ‘everywhere’.”

Therafirm is well on its way to reaching Byrne’s goal of “everywhere.”  In a very short time of international trade focus, the company has now delivered its product to 50 different countries.  Still looking to continue growth, Byrne is currently in Dubai attending an international health trade show and meeting with potential new customers this week.

“We’re extremely proud of our product and our quality is impeccable,” Hartley said. “Which is directly attributable to our team of 90 employees. We have great people who are passionate about what they do.” 

Hartley went on to say that local residents can expect to see a continuation of success and growth from Therafirm. 

“There are many great things happening in Richmond County right now,” Hartley said. “We are on a nice rebound side in manufacturing and we are really excited about how we can contribute and continue to help Richmond County grow.”

Hartley finished by saying, “we are thrilled to have been the recipient of this award and to be the Rural Exporter of the Year speaks volumes of our employees and of Richmond County as a whole.”    

Last modified on Friday, 02 February 2018 01:27