On April 15th I wrote about a ribbon cutting we held in Ripley, MS for three empty buildings we purchased that had been used by a furniture manufacturer there. Our plan with this purchase is to retrofit the buildings, take care of delayed maintenance and promote them to other manufacturers as an economical way to start new operations. The high percentage of manufacturing workers in the county, 39.5%, is an added bonus as is the close proximity (<30 minutes) to the new Toyota plant being built in nearby Tupelo, MS.
On Tuesday the Tippah County Development Foundation held a ribbon cutting for the first success with these buildings. We sold one of them, a 230,000 sf plant to Carolina Accents, which plans to create 125 new jobs in Ripley.
The owner of Carolina Accents is Daniel Lim who moved to the USA in early 1980s with his wife Janet. Their first job was cleaning motel rooms for $1.00/day in addition to being able to board there. The two saved their money (you’ve got to clean a lot of rooms to save much!) so that Daniel could attend the University of North Carolina to study electrical engineering. While at UNC he cooped at a local utility company and later worked there for six years.
In the early 1990’s, when the U. S. was just emerging from one of its few recessions, Lim and his wife started a company to import goods from China, reinvesting their profits back into the business. Today their SV International which owns Carolina Accents has plants in China, Malaysia, Vietnam, NC and MS. The Business Journal of Greensboro, NC ranked it as the fastest growing company in the Greensboro-Winston-Salem-High Point region of NC.
Such growth doesn’t happen by accident. It takes creativity and hard work. And it shows that the American Dream is still alive and well. I’m thrilled that he is our first success with refocusing these buildings into new uses.