Stories and photos by WINGATE LASSITER unless credited otherwise
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It's Coor Farm Supply, now in its seventh decade among home-grown Smithfield enterprises. Shown here are second and third-generation operators led by Ozzie Coor (center) alongside his sister, Robin Coor Wilson, and his son, Clay. "I have always loved agriculture and horticulture and never really considered another field of work," Ozzie said to Gary Ridout during an interview for the Weekly Sun.
Gary's transcript appears
on today's FEATURE PAGE


Latest from Amazon: hiring goal put off till summer

Chris Johnson, the County of Johnston's director of economic development, provides this report following a contact with Amazon this week regarding the status of its new distribution center in West Smithfield: "They are still committed to the site with the goal of beginning hiring in the 3rd/4th quarter of this year."

The Weekly Sun asked for an update in light of recent news about major cutbacks in employment by Amazon across the nation. Late last summer, Amazon said the West Smithfield center would begin operations this spring rather than the end of 2022, its original start-up target. In announcing plans for the plant in May 2021, the company said it would employ as many as 500 workers by the end of 2023.

Mr. Johnson said his office "feels confident in the property due to the purpose of the building," which appears finished, with traffic lights already in operation at the main entrance on US 70 Business West. "It is not like other 'last mile" distribution centers such as the one in Garner and the one that is in Fayetteville. This facility is a cross-dock building where product comes in and then is to the final distribution centers. Our facility makes the others more efficient."

Mr. Johnson provided a link to an article explaining "cross-docking" – the logistical concept to be used by Amazon here:>

Here's an evening aerial view of the well-lighted Smithfield facility as it now stands (from the Johnston County Economic Development Office):


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New "infill" houses popping up throughout town

"Urban infill' is the terminology for new structures being built in the midst of older ones, especially in long-established residential neighborhoods. Smithfield is beginning to see more of that as we recover from the coronavirus pandemic.

Here's a sample of the most recent construction of brand-new dwelling places next door to houses built at least half a century ago:

A matching pair on East Massey Street in the Belmont neighborhood.

A duplex on Martin Luther King Jr. Drive near College Road.

A stand-alone on Hancock Street in the North Smithfield Historic District.

A duplex (already occupied) across from the police station on South Fifth Street.

In addition to new construction, Smithfield is also seeing stepped-up renovation of older houses. It appears much of that is being done for the rising rental market, which is growing by leaps and bounds across the nation just now.

Reports the home-finding website, "As of January 2023 the median rental rate in Johnston County is $1,327 which is $22 (2%) more than the median of $1,305 for North Carolina and $232 (15%) less than the median of $1,559 for the United States."

A check of other real-estate websites found current listings for single-family rental housing in Smithfield ranging from $1,200 a month for a two-bedroom dwelling to as much as $1,475 for a three-bedroom house.


HOME FOR SALE IN SOUTH SMITHFIELD:  2,427 sq. ft., 3 bedrooms, 2.5 baths, 2-car garage. 811 Baker Street (MLS# 2478008). SOLD!