Nearly 50 people filled the Progress Energy Conference Room on NC State University's Centennial Campus to celebrate twelve North Carolina companies -- four textiles firms, specialty woodworking and electronics manufacturers, and suppliers of everything from camouflage netting to wine -- whose products were added to the North Carolina Museum of History's permanent collection in Raleigh.
The donor companies -- Acme-McCrary of Asheboro, Capel Rugs of Troy, Cone Denim of Greensboro, Davis Wood Products of Hudson, General Microcircuits of Mooresville, GlaxoSmithKline of Zebulon, Holly Aiken Bags of Raleigh, Meadows Mill of North Wilkesboro, PureCountry Weavers of Lynn, RayLen Vineyards of Mocksville, Saab Barracuda of Lillington, and Specialty Manufacturing of Pineville -- represent North Carolina's 10,000 manufacturers and their 500,000 employees. Each was originally featured during the "Manufacturing Makes It Real" Tour), a week-long celebration of the high quality and competitive spirit of North Carolina manufacturers that make manufacturing the largest single contributor to the state economy.
NC State alumna Holly Aiken stole the show when she presented her namesake handbags. Aiken, a graduate of the NC State College of Design, started Holly Aiken Bags in 2002, and her vibrant contributions had already received great acclaim during the manufacturing tour. Hers was the only company to have two separate items accepted into the museum's collection.
Dr. Terri Helmlinger Ratcliff, Executive Director of the Industrial Extension Service, and Ken Howard, Director of the North Carolina Museum of History, presided over the ceremony. Ratcliff praised the companies for their ingenuity, craftsmanship, and determination to succeed, and Howard noted how difficult it was to narrow down the choices from the hundreds of items in the "Manufacturing Makes It Real" display trailer.
Museum display dates for the "Made in North Carolina" items have not been set.