L-R: Onslow County Commissioner Royce Bennett, Holly Ridge Mayor Jeff Wenzel, Captain Jodie Gay, grandson Connor Weaver, Terry Gay, JOED Chairman Susan Edwards. In the forefront, granddaughter Taylor Weaver
JOED Chairman Susan Edwards welcomed attendees, stating “This groundbreaking is a momentous next step in the story of Blue Water Candy and JOED is proud to be a part of the celebration today. We celebrate the decision by Blue Water Candy to locate their new facility in Onslow County. We take particular pride in this groundbreaking, because this company represents all that is good and wholesome in the history of American small business. Spawned by Jodie and Terry at their dining room table 20 years ago, this couple has toiled against all odds for a generation. Daughter Jessica and husband Russell add to the meaning of what a “family business” really is.”
She noted that Blue Water Company is a growing force in their industry. Their reputation for quality product and excellent customer service is common knowledge among serious anglers. They have gone from that first lure, sold to a tackle shop in Wilmington in 2001, to now offering 5,000 lure combinations – and even custom options for their customers. Chairman Edwards continued, “It is also noteworthy, particularly now in this time of dire labor shortages, how Blue Water Candy has found ways to attract their creative workforce. Many can work from home, at hours of their choosing, in some cases as a family team, or as a second job. Among them are veterans, single moms, caretakers of elderly folks, and others for whom traditional jobs just would not be an option. It is a treat for us that so many of the Blue Water Candy team is here today.”
On behalf of JOED’s Board of Directors, she also recognized both Tom Rollins, owner of Camp Davis Industrial Park, and the Town of Holly Ridge. “We applaud Tom’s vision and ten-year commitment to make Camp Davis Industrial Park a reality. His intuition, and knowledge of our regional marketplace was spot on, as evidenced by how quickly Camp Davis Industrial Park is filling up with the highest quality companies. The Town of Holly Ridge has demonstrated outstanding support of economic development by taking the rare step of publishing their aggressive economic development policy. In this respect, Holly Ridge stands out among their peer communities. They are leaning forward in pursuit of Phase II of this park, and JOED looks forward to continued partnership in many more future successes.”
Captain Jodie Gay remarked on the incredible 21-year journey to get to this point, quipping that “An entrepreneur is the only person willing to work 80 hours, so he doesn’t have to work 40 hours.” He thanked Tom Rollins, noting that the site had been agreed upon with a handshake 3 years ago. After improvements to the site, Tom honored the original agreement, but Captain Jodie joked, “But I think we may have already outgrown this site.”
He thanked his family, and employees for their continued support. Many current employees had been previous employees, and Captain Jodie was grateful to them for making it through the tough situations dealt by the Covid pandemic. He spoke warmly of his distributors-- who could display any items and choose to display his lures, thus serving his customers—the fishermen!
Mayor Jeff Wenzel and Commissioner Royce Bennett both shared their admiration for Captain Jodie’s success, inasmuch as they too are entrepreneurs. As Camp Davis Industrial Park grows, employees will travel INTO, rather than OUT OF, Holly Ridge and Onslow County. Affirming that growth in Holly Ridge benefits the entire county, Commissioner Bennett noted, “a rising tide lifts all boats”.
Mayor Wenzel presented Captain Jodie with a small golden shovel statue as a memento, suggesting it could fit nicely on a desk. Captain Jodie entertained everyone with this response, “I’m bringing that original kitchen table here for my desk!”