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Business Briefs — 4-5-13

Lincolnton Hampton Inn named National Lighthouse Award winner
Hampton Hotels has honored the Hampton Inn of Lincolnton with the company’s Lighthouse Award, designating it as one of the hotel chain’s top-performing hotels among more than 1,800 Hampton properties. Hampton Inn was recognized for its high rankings in overall accommodations, service and quality. The award criteria was based on customer feedback measured through guest-satisfaction surveys on the hotel, as well as product quality and service scores measured quarterly by the Hampton Hotels brand.
“The competition to be among the elite group of Hampton Lighthouse Award winners becomes stronger each year as the Hampton brand continues to add more hotels and continually looks for ways to strengthen the guest experience. This makes us especially proud to receive the honor,” said Fran Manley, general manager of Hampton Inn.

The Griffin Agency – Nationwide Insurance named “N.C. Agency of the Year” for third consecutive year
The Griffin Agency – Nationwide Insurance was recently recognized as the number one Nationwide Agency in North Carolina. It’s the first time in history that a North Carolina Nationwide Agency has achieved this honor for three years in a row. They earned the “Agency of the Year” award for achieving the highest sales production out of 380 Nationwide Insurance agencies across North Carolina. The ranking is based upon total new sales in property and casualty insurance, life insurance and financial services for 2012. In addition to the number-one state ranking, they were recognized as number six in the country, out of 3,600 Nationwide Insurance agencies. This ranking earned them the “All-Star Team” designation for the ninth time, which recognizes the top-12 agents in the company. The financial services division, headed by Charles Moore III, earned “Court of the Table” honors for 2012. This places The Griffin Agency in the top 3 percent of financial producers in the world. This was the seventh year in a row earning this status, making it the longest consecutive period in the country for a Nationwide Insurance Agency. In addition, Moore was named “Top Annuity Producer” in the country for Nationwide Insurance. Mike Griffin founded The Griffin Agency in 1978. Headquartered in Mooresville with a staff of 40 employees, they maintain locations in Statesville and Denver, with two offices in both Lincolnton and Mooresville.

Prime Mortgage Lending opens new branch in Lincolnton
Prime Mortgage Lending, licensed in North Carolina, South Carolina, Virginia and Montana, recently announced that it is opening an office in Lincolnton. The new branch will mark the fourth location in North Carolina and will increase the Prime Mortgage footprint to the Piedmont region. The Lincolnton office expands services to Lincoln, Gaston, Catawba, Cleveland, Mecklenburg and surrounding counties, offering two experienced loan officers skilled at pairing the right mortgage for the client based on their personal circumstances. Prime Mortgage Lending, headquartered in Apex, has provided a wide range of mortgage options to clients for more than a decade.
“The Piedmont area is a new market for us,” said John Rodgers, president and owner of Prime Mortgage Lending. “With its proximity to the Charlotte metro area, we are eager to expand our company and offer superior service and customer support to even more clients with this new branch.”
The Lincolnton branch will be managed by Traci Dellinger, who brings more than 15 years of mortgage experience to the table, and Shelli Jenkins, a loan officer with 11 years of experience in the industry. Dellinger and Jenkins are natives of the Lincolnton area and are also sisters. Jan Hoyle, who serves as an administrative assistant, is their mother. All three women were formerly with American Family Mortgage, founded in 2006 in Lincolnton.
“We are truly a family business and are thrilled to have the support of a larger, established lender with the same values,” said Dellinger. “With Prime Mortgage Lending’s in-house underwriting and closing procedures, we can maintain our high standards, as well as keep as much of the remaining processes local.”
Prime Mortgage employs more than 32 people across the southeast.

Hardparts Design relocates to Crouse
Hardparts Design, LLC has recently moved its headquarters and manufacturing operation to Crouse. Makers of the BXpanded product line of specialized accessories and attachments for tractors, Hardparts Design has purchased and adapted the 4,800-square-foot facility that formerly housed Schwann’s Frozen Foods for its expansion.
The company is not currently hiring new employees with the move.
The BXpanded line of specialized products is specifically designed to expand the project capabilities of compact and subcompact tractors.  The market for these products is across North America and even worldwide, and is generally made up of an extensive number of small, commercial landscapers and private-property owners with one- to five-acre project areas. The products are designed to be easily installed, with minimal or no modifications to the tractor.
Hardparts Design was started in 2008 in Shelby. Owner and operator Harry Clearman, who has more than 20 years of experience in metal product design and manufacture, said the new facility will allow the company to accommodate a growing demand for its many products. He also indicated that the Cherryville area is a good fit for the company.
“Being a small manufacturer with a commitment to detailed attention and service to our customers, we are extremely happy with the reception we’ve received here in Cherryville,” said Clearman, adding that “all of our local suppliers and vendors seem to share our views on customer service and work ethic.”
“It’s good to see that we can attract jobs and investment to the area and that we are in position to make good use of our available industrial buildings,” Cherryville Mayor Bob Austell said.

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