Anthem Displays, a manufacturer of digital LED billboards, has expanded in Bladen County, creating 23 new jobs and plans to continue to grow.
“Anthem Displays is in a growth cycle,” said Chuck Heustess, Executive Director of Bladen County’s economic development nonprofit, Bladen’s Bloomin’ Agri-Industrial, Inc. “Orders for LED billboards have been greater than projected.”
Anthem Displays had two different locations for its manufacturing operations. It was manufacturing the frames for and assembling the LED displays at its facility in Elizabethtown (Bladen County) and manufacturing the LED panels in Boulder, Colorado. During the pandemic, the LED panel production facility had to shut down for a period of time. That’s when the company decided to move its LED panel manufacturing operation to Elizabethtown.
“They had an eight-to-nine-week window that they would be shut down and wanted to make the move to North Carolina that fast,” said Huestess. “While we needed more time to get ready for them, the project only took nine weeks from start to finish.”
Huestess reached out to Golden LEAF to help renovate and expand a building owned by Bladen’s Bloomin’ next door to Anthem Display’s frame and assembly operation. The building needed a cleanroom and HVAC equipment necessary for manufacture of the LED displays. In June 2020, the Golden LEAF Board of Directors awarded Bladen’s Bloomin’ Agri-Industrial $100,000 to support the renovation costs. The building Anthem Displays is located in is owned by Bladen’s Bloomin’ Agri-Industrial and leased at fair market value to the company.
“There may not be another granting agency out there besides Golden LEAF that could respond as quickly as it did to our request for support,” said Heustess. “It helped us ready the building so Anthem Displays could be fully operational in a very short timeframe.”
Nico Marias, President of Anthem Displays, said the move was at the right time for the company.
“The thing that helped us the most was having the shell building already there,” said Marias. “All we needed to do was add the electronics room, which was necessary for operations, and was built fairly quickly.”
While the company only expected to hire 17 employees, it has well surpassed its goal with 23 new employees, with a total of 38 employees.
“We have hired electronic production line workers, engineers, machinists, and metal fabricators,” said Marias. “We have more than doubled the amount of people working for the company.”