TARBORO — Several hundred more people will be receiving paychecks inEdgecombe County, thanks to a special announcement.
The cable television shopping channel QVC came to Tarboro Monday morning to confirm what had been rumored for some time -- that it will build a major distribution center in the area.
The announcement is particularly welcome because Edgecombe County has a high unemployment rate -- more than twice the state average.
More than 300 people filed preliminary job applications during Monday's festivities.
One of them, Teaqula Moore, said it was the pay and the benefits that attracted her. She said finding an area job with benefits is difficult to do.
QVC President Douglas Briggs was on hand to address the crowd, saying that Edgecombe County had done everything right to encourage QVC to expand into the eastern North Carolina county.
Some county officials predict the new plant will eventually add $85 million to the tax base.
QVC's decision is seen as a tremendous boost. The jobs will primarily be full-time, not part-time, and carry benefits.
"It's kind of hard to find a job that pays well in this area of North Carolina anyway because there's so many people -- there's not enough jobs for everyone," says applicant Nikiesha Fields.
QVC made the announcement feel like a party for Edgecombe County complete with free food and product giveaways.
Many people worked behind the scenes to make the announcement a reality, among them members of the Carolinas Gateway Partnership and Secretary of Commerce Rick Carlisle. Roughly $12 million in tax breaks provided by the state also helped.
QVC can get up to $10 million in tax credits for hiring the 800 employees. People close to the deal say the business incentive package, just approved by theGeneral Assembly, was critical.
"Specifically for attracting this company, it would not have happened without the incentives because we would have already announced this, but we were waiting for the legislation to pass," says Oppie Jordan, an industry recruiter.
The announcement also gave Gov. Jim Hunt a chance to take a jab at people who say the tax breaks amount to corporate welfare.
"All these rich folks that live up here in the Research Triangle, a lot of these academics have plenty ... you know they get these big salaries, they don't associate with poor people that need a job, so they think incentives are terrible," Hunt said. "I want to tell you they are wrong."
Anyone who would like to find out more information about getting a job at QVC can call(610) 701-6537.