The following article was printed in the Richmond County Daily Journal.
HAMLET — Ritz-Craft Homes of North Carolina celebrated the 750th modular home built at its Hamlet facility on Thursday. Dale Dixon, operations manager of Ritz-Craft in Hamlet, said the state-of-the-art facility has been a benefit to Richmond County.
When Ritz-Craft was looking for sites in the Southeast in 2003, Richmond County economic development leaders and County Manager Rick Sago — who was an engineer at the time — teamed up to make Richmond the clear choice, Dixon said.
“They (Ritz-Craft) were looking for construction experience and the availability of construction-type people who could do that work,” Dixon said. “They’ve been very satisfied with the work force here.”
Dixon said his 65 employees are on the upper end of the pay scale and receive benefits.
“We supply a good wage here,” he said.
About eight to a dozen of the homes built at the Hamlet factory since its inception in 2005 have remained in Richmond County, Dixon said. Most of Ritz-Craft’s homes are built for the coastal and mountain markets.
The facility manufactures roughly 50 homes a year, Dixon said. With a stronger economy, the company could churn out as many as 200.
Ritz-Craft spokesman Myles Biggs said the price of a modular home depends on how much the house is customized.
“You also have to take into account buying land, adding patios, decks, et cetera,” Biggs said. ”But you don’t have to move in and renovate. You can make it how you want it.”
Ritz-Craft also owns and operates several subsidiaries, such as Legacy Crafted Cabinets,which Biggs said helps to keep costs down by cutting out the middleman. Ritz-Trans, a trucking corporation, is another affiliated company that officials said reduces the homes’ sticker price.
Said Biggs, “The owners want to control each step to help keep costs down.”
Each individual home is built and put together inside the facility in a controlled environment and then put on a carrier and carted to the site, said Dixon.
“Most anything can be modulized. We’ve built doctors’ offices, duplexes and condos,” Dixon said. “We’ve built houses from West Virginia to the Florida Keys out of the Hamlet facility.”
Reach reporter Matt Harrelson at 910-997-3111, ext. 18.