EAST BEND — Formerly known as the DAC building, a distinct red and green building located at 340 E. N.C. 67, will soon be known as the NCTI building. A new tobacco manufacturing company, North Carolina Tobacco International, which formed about three years ago, has been in the building for more than a year now and is now looking to expand their workforce.
The company, owned by Sam Kim, Robert E. Dotson, Edward L. Van Deventer and Kenneth Hauser, makes filtered cigars, cigarettes and pipe tobacco.
CEO Ken Hauser said that finding a building was the first step in the company’s formation and they knew right away they wanted to be in North Carolina.
“We love it here, the community, it was a no-brainer that we wanted to be in North Carolina for this company,” Hauser said. “This is the backbone of the tobacco industry worldwide and that’s where we wanted to be.”
The company has around 20 employees and plans to start a second shift this summer. Hauser said by the end of August they plan to employee around 50 people. Information about job openings at NCTI will be listed on www.ncworks.gov.
Hauser said he was particularly proud of an agreement they already had established locally with Surry Community College who will be providing interns to work at the plant.
“The good thing about it is they’re letting our instructors instruct them on our machines and our way of doing things and after they get out of school they have a job,” Hauser said.
The company makes products for major tobacco brands as well as its own brands and serves customers both in the United States and internationally.
Though they have been in the building for more than a year now, Hauser said it was a long process to get the facility to the point they needed it to be to begin producing. Electric, duct-work and other work had to be completed in the warehouse portion of the building prior to manufacturing beginning.
Eddy Dotson said that it had been a long process to get going and said they had been taking baby steps, but with the first product almost ready to be shipped out, he said he knew the time was coming when the company would really take off.
“When this lady gets up and walks, she’s going to show you something, I can tell you that,” he said.
Dotson and Hauser are both area natives with many years experience working in the tobacco industry. Hauser said that preserving the history of the tobacco industry was also important to them, as well as being an integral part of the community.
“We also want to be good community partners with everyone,” Hauser said.
Kitsey E. Burns may be reached at 336-679-2341 or on Twitter @RippleReporterK.