A group of four Chamber officials stayed together after the monthly Greater Tabor City Chamber of Commerce meeting to discuss the formation of an economic development group. These four persons were Mike Jones, Andy Lefler, Ray Wicker, and Henri Gordon. A concept was agreed upon in that informal conversation:
100 people would be recruited to give $300 a year for three years. The goal was to raise nearly $100,000 by 1987. Those funds were to be used to recruit industry, promote business, and increase the quality of life in Tabor City.
The earliest records show that the Committee of 100 actually was an offshoot of the Greater Tabor City Chamber of Commerce's Industrial Committee. The Chamber had a committee in 1984 that consisted of Bernice Gerald, Jimmy Dicus, Mike Jones, Andy Lefler, Sonny Sanders, Richard Wright, R.C. Soles, Jr., Lavern Ward and Jimmy Hewett. This group was charged with advising the Chamber on matters related to industrial development. This Chamber Industrial Committee met on February 24, 1984, to begin the formation of a larger, different type of economic development group.
These leaders moved very quickly. Within one month, the Articles of Incorporation of the Tabor City Committee of 100 had been approved by the NC Secretary of State. Within two months, the goal of having 100 dues paying members had been met. Miraculously, by March of 1987, the Committee had indeed met their financial goal as the Treasurer's report showed a balance of $121,064.85.
With a healthy treasury, the Committee set about doing what it said it would do. Within three years, the group had:
Established a downtown storefront revitalization program whereby the Committee would pay for a percentage of the cost of upgrading the front of downtown commercial buildings.
Helped acquire the property downtown where the new Tabor City Library was to be constructed.
Assisted in the paving and infrastructure of the dirt parking lot where today's Ritz stage is located.
Acquired a small parcel of land on US 701 By Pass that allowed a larger tract to be "squared up." This is where a shell building was constructed that now houses Filtec Precise.
As you can see, the Committee had a bold and active beginning, but they have not taken their foot off of the throttle since those early days. In the 1990's, the Tabor City Committee of 100 decided to construct another industrial speculation or "shell" building on NC 904. That effort led to the Committee going even further and developing an entire industrial park. This second shell building was originally purchased by Southeastern Materials and is now owned by KRS Plastics. The Committee partnered with Brunswick Electric Membership after Hurricane Fran to secure federal funding to build the business incubator in that industrial park. Steps were taken to put water, sewer, natural gas and fiber optic cable into the industrial park.
At the turn of the century, the Tabor City Committee of 100 spearheaded what may be the largest job creation effort in the history of our community. The Committee of 100 paid for one half of the land on NC 904 that became the NC Correctional Facility. (The other half of the land acquisition was paid for by Columbus County government). This bold step eventually led to the creation of over 500 jobs at the prison.
In the current decade, the Committee of 100 made a major and substantial gift to the community to help restore the old Ritz Theater. The Committee's most recent push to create jobs was to financially support the Town and County's efforts to acquire the business incubator at the Industrial Park and then refurbish it to meet the needs of the Radix Bay computer programming industry that is located there now.
2019 marks the 35th year of the genesis of the Tabor City Committee of 100. The Tabor City Committee of 100 has been a great success story. Our goal of promoting industrial development and economic growth to improve the quality of life in Tabor City continues to drive our efforts.
Due to the Covid-19 Pandemic, activities were very limited in 2020. We published our semi-annual Newsletter. The Newsletters are shared via email with each Tabor City Committee of 100 member. It may also be found on this website.
The Committee of 100 is excited about its contribution toward a Community Center project. Construction began in 2021 and is scheduled to be completed in the Spring of 2022.
Due to the ongoing Covid-19 Pandemic, no annual meeting was held or scheduled in 2021 nor in 2022.
By 2023, we hope to return to our normal schedule. The Community Center project is nearing completion. This facility will be a huge asset to our community at large.
TCC100 Board of Directors
Bradley Bell, Membership Chair
Rep. Brenden Jones
Bernice Gerald, Emeritus
Columbus County Econ Dev Director
Scroll right to view the history of Tabor City