Speedball Art Products receives 2017 Large Business of the Year Award
Editor’s Note: The following address was presented Tuesday by Ashton Lloyd with Griffin Insurance Agency and Nationwide Insurance, sponsor of the Greater Statesville Chamber of Commerce 2017 Large Business of the Year Award.
Special to SVLfreenews.com
The recipient tonight can trace its roots back 119 years ago at the formation of the C. Howard Hunt Pen Company that later became known as Hunt Manufacturing. Hunt was a New York Stock Exchange-traded company that moved to Statesville in 1958. At its most prosperous time, Hunt employed over 700 people. In 1997, an intrepid group of long-time Hunt employees took a big risk to work for a new, much smaller company, Speedball, which had acquired Hunt’s art product lines. When Hunt opted to shut down the main plant in 2005, Speedball Art Products moved into the 220,000-square-foot space.
During the subsequent 20 years in which manufacturing was in a sharp decline in the U.S., Speedball Art Products doubled in size, increased wages well above the rate of inflation, and provided great benefits, including education expense reimbursement.
The company has an absolute commitment to purchasing locally, if possible, using local raw materials suppliers, sub-assemblies and a vast array of services. In the past nine years, Speedball has acquired six businesses, all of which have moved to North Carolina.
Sometimes we fail to recognize what is going on in our own backyard. Speedball Art Products is a world leader in fine art products. Out of their Statesville plant, they ship to every state and export to over 50 countries. The art of printmaking traditionally used toxic and environmentally harmful inks solvents and acids. Speedball has received wide acclaim for the development of non-toxic printmaking materials.
The company supports arts education programs – everywhere offering creative teaching aids, donating material to teachers and students in need (just ask Susie Wiberg with Iredell-Statesville Schools), and sponsoring contests that reward promising arts students, and supporting art therapy programs at home and school.
Ladies and gentlemen, on behalf of the Griffin Insurance Agency and the Greater Statesville Chamber of Commerce, please welcome with me our 2017 Large Business of the Year, Speedball Art Products.