Brittney Burns – Staff Writer

The Macon County Economic Development Commission announced last week that TekTone® Sound & Signal Mfg., Inc. will expand operations in the Macon County Industrial Park with the purchase of the vacant 72,262 square foot former SKF facility. The company will hire an additional 35 workers over the next five years, and invest $3.2 million.

The project was made possible in part by performance-based grants from the OneNC Fund ($90,000) and Macon County ($30,000). These grants are contingent upon a combination of verified job creation and investment performance benchmarks. Appropriate claw-backs are in place if those performance benchmarks are not met.

“We are excited to have TekTone investing in the economic future of Macon County,” said Kevin Corbin, chair of the Macon County Board of Commissioners.  “We are appreciative of their commitment to providing good jobs and investment in our community. Transacting business on five continents, they are an excellent example of a local company thriving in a global economy.”

Founded in 1973, TekTone Sound & Signal Mfg., Inc. opened its manufacturing facility in Franklin in 1989. TekTone designs and manufactures wired and wireless nurse call, apartment entry, area of rescue assistance, alert integration and resident wandering systems. TekTone healthcare communications systems are found in hospitals, retirement communities, skilled nursing, and assisted/independent living facilities around the globe. The privately held company employs an existing workforce of 70 locally.

“The purchase of the former SKF facility is a significant investment for us. When it became clear we were outgrowing our current facility, we made it a priority to stay in Macon County, if at all possible. We thank our employees, customers, and partners for making this a reality, and look forward to expansion and growth in the Macon County Industrial Park,” commented Carlos Mira, president of TekTone.

TekTone has enjoyed a steady increase in sales over the last five years, and expects that trend to continue. The new facility is more than twice the size of the manufacturer’s current space, which will allow TekTone to expand its workforce by 50 percent over the next five years to accommodate the expected growth.

The former SKF building is undergoing an extensive renovation TekTone plans to begin moving its warehousing and shipping departments there in October. All operations will be moved to the new facility by the end of 2016.

Partners involved in the project include Macon County, Macon County Economic Development Commission, North Carolina Department of Commerce, and the Economic Development Partnership of North Carolina

With TekTone moving to the former SKF building, their current facility would soon be available, which allows another local business, Harmony House Foods, Inc., to expand its operations.

Harmony House Foods, Inc., has purchased the current TekTone facility in the Macon County Industrial Park, following the TekTone purchase of the former SKF building.

Located in the Macon County Business Development Center, Harmony House is a seller and distributor of dehydrated foods, both domestically and internationally. Their honors include the Editor’s Choice Award from Backpacker Magazine and the  “Business People of the Year” nomination by the Small Business Administration for the State of North Carolina.

“Harmony House will be expanding from an 8,500 square foot facility to an over 32,000 square foot location, showing significant growth since becoming a Business Development Center tenant in 2013,” said Tommy Jenkins, Macon County Economic Development Director. “Being a family owned and operated business, as well as located in a region world renowned for hiking and outdoor recreation, Harmony House is a perfect fit for our local economy.”

Harmony House plans to steadily increase their workforce over the next several years as new products come to market.  “We have so many opportunities for product growth that it just made sense to expand,” said John Seaman, president of Harmony House.  “Expanding right here in Franklin was an easy choice because Macon County has provided such an excellent business environment.”  There are also plans for a future outlet store adjacent to the production facility.  “AT hikers and local residents often ask if we have a storefront they can visit.  We hope to provide that for them,” said Linda Seaman, vice president.