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A Florida-based company that makes pet products is expanding into Burke County and plans to hire more than 200 workers.

Synergy Labs announced Tuesday that is moving into the former Peds sock manufacturing building in Hildebran and investing $11.2 million over the next five years. The company intends to create 237 jobs, with the average salary reaching $40,568, according to company officials.

Richard Ticktin, the founder and CEO of Synergy Labs, told county and state officials gathered for the announcement Tuesday that when the company was looking for locations in which to expand they looked in South Carolina, North Carolina, Georgia and Tennessee.

“It was obvious this was the right place,” Ticktin said about Burke County.

He said the addition solves two of the company’s biggest weaknesses: tight on space and workforce. He said being in Burke County means the company can continue to grow.

Ticktin said the move will help take the company to the next level. He said it currently makes pet products for places such as Walmart, Target and PetSmart, as well as other branded and private brand products.

The company plans to renovate the former Peds building. It won’t just create work locally, but Ticktin said it will source ingredients within 200 miles of the facility.

Burke County Commissioner Chairman Johnnie Carswell said 85 million households in the U . S . have pets and they spend $75 billion on pet products yearly. He said Synergy Labs holds 17 patents and trademarks with five new patents pending.

Carswell said the effort to bring Synergy Labs to Burke County was an effort that includes the county, Western Piedmont Council of Governments, Western Piedmont Community College, the state, the town of Hildebran and Burke Development Inc.

The state approved a Job Development Investment Grant, which is a performance-based, discretionary incentive program that provides cash grants to the company, according to a release from Burke Development Inc.

Ticktin said the company already has started hiring for the location and will be hiring positions for production, logistics and office work.

For those interested in working at the company, Ticktin said they should email Human Resources Director Elena Azzarita at eazzarita@synergylabs.com .

Sharon McBrayer is a staff writer and can be reached at smcbrayer@morganton.com or at 828-432-8946.

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