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Shuttle bus maker expanding in Lumberton

Posted June 21

— Two affiliated companies that make shuttle buses plan to expand a facility in Lumberton County, creating 61 jobs, officials said Wednesday.

Ventura Coach Corp. and Absolute Bus plan to invest $2 million in the plant upgrade.

"It’s been 18 years since the second-largest shuttle bus manufacturer in the nation left the Southeast," Craig Hartman, Ventura Coach chief executive, said in a statement. "Today, as demand has risen to an all-time high, it is time to bring these jobs back to the South. As we grow, the industry will attract many new vendors to the area. This is just the beginning."

Ventura Coach, which builds and customizes shuttle buses, is one of the few bus manufacturers that builds onto a full truck cab, which provides more strength and durability. Ventura bus bodies also feature contoured sides for improved aerodynamics in crosswinds.

The company qualified for a performance-based grant of $200,000 from the One North Carolina Fund, which provides financial assistance to local governments to help recruit businesses. Companies receive no money upfront and must meet job and investment targets to obtain the funds, which are matched by local money.

The average salary for the new jobs will be $30,100, which is slightly less than the Robeson County average of $30,280.

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