Hemp-based vape liquid, CBD oil to be made in Wilson

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A new North Carolina-based industrial hemp processor is slated to invest $17.3 million in renovating a facility adjacent to Alliance One International to produce the new Korent line of THC-free cannaboid vape liquids and CBD oils.

Alliance One, which is based in Morrisville and has a Wilson location, acquired 40 percent of North Carolina-based Criticality LLC last year. The cannaboid hemp oil extraction company and nine others are participating in a pilot program through the North Carolina Industrial Hemp Commission in partnership with N.C. State University.

“We intend to broaden our business portfolio over the next three to four years by focusing on consumer-driven agricultural products, with increased operating margins when compared to our historical leaf processing business,” Alliance One CEO Peter Sikkel said in a statement following the purchase. “Consistent with our commitment to growth and incremental to our core leaf earnings, our goal is to generate a significantly increasing portion of our profit from new, higher-margin businesses by 2020.”

According to a press release about Criticality’s renovation of the 55,000-square-foot facility at 1900 Old Stantonsburg Road, the project will become one of the state’s largest facilities of its kind once the plan is finalized in the fall and construction is completed within a year. Officials said Criticality plans to employ 88 people in the first five years of operation with salaries averaging $44,000 a year.

“The renovation of our facility in Wilson is a natural next step as we work toward our goal of becoming a leader in industrial hemp extraction and CBD products over the next five years, and the city of Wilson, Wilson Economic Development Council, Wilson Police Chief Thomas Hopkins and Wilson County Sheriff Calvin L. Woodard Jr. have been instrumental in supporting our efforts in Wilson,” Criticality CEO Brian Moyer said in a statement. “We are designing this facility and implementing a quality control system to follow good manufacturing practices and operate in compliance with dietary supplement standards.

“We are excited to be able to provide customers with high-quality, verifiable, fully traceable products.”

Wilson Economic Development Executive Director Jennifer Lantz said officials plan to vote in October on an incentive package of $119,250 from both the city and county, for a total of $238,500 over the next four years.

“This will add to our agribusiness and life-science base in Wilson. It is a great project,” Lantz said. “The folks who are involved in it, both in Pittsburgh and here in North Carolina, have been very open and very easy to communicate with. They’ve met with the sheriff and the chief of police, inviting both to talk to counterparts in other parts of the state where hemp is grown. They have just been a great company to work with.”

Extra! Extra!

A Wilson-based employee was named one of the top 11 movers in the country by HireAHelper.com, which helps clients get multiple quotes from movers and compare services. Hundreds of movers across the country were nominated, but D.J. Reese with Smart Move on Airport Boulevard was the lone honoree from the state and region.

“After much review, sweat, tears and reflection, we narrowed down to the chosen top 11,” the announcement from HireAHelper states. “It was the most outstanding stories that ultimately revealed the top crew members in the whole country for 2018. Yes, these are the crew champions for all humans across the 2.3 billion acres of USA.”

Visit tinyurl.com/ybjyzdkp for more information on Smart Move and HireAHelper.

Got an idea for news to include in next week’s Main Street Minute? Don’t hesitate to reach out to me at 252-265-7821 or bhandgraaf@wilsontimes.com.