THOMASVILLE — Thomasville's newest industry president and chief executive officer gave new employees what could be described as a pep talk at the company's Tuesday grand opening and ribbon-cutting.
"We're going to build an empire here together," Joseph DeBello told new Check-Mate employees.
When the 168,000-square-foot west bypass Check-Mate building is full, DeBello, said, another structure will be built next door.
Rousing applause followed DeBello's remarks and other comments made at the ceremony. The hundreds of people attending the event applauded enthusiastically throughout speakers' talks.
DeBello thanked the community for supporting "three jaded New Yorkers."
"The excitement this community has shown us is extraordinary," said Jacquelyn Santoro, director of legal affairs and business development.
Santoro said she knew the Thomasville Payroll Development Authority (PDA) and the community were searching for an industry that would value the town.
Santoro, daughter of the late Tom Viewig, founder of the family-owned company, said she is in awe of the size of the Check-Mate building and future possibilities.
Santoro recalled that her father and mother, Regina Vieweg, today Check-Mate chairman and chief executive officer, borrowed $250 to begin the business close to 50 years ago.
"Our story is now Thomasville's story," Santoro said.
"Welcome home," District 173 state Rep. Darlene Taylor, (R-Thomasville), told Check-Mate officials before introducing Gov. Brian Kemp.
Noting Check-Mate's multi-million investment in the community, Kemp said, "We appreciate that."
The governor pointed out that local governments, the PDA and Thomasville-Thomas County Chamber of Commerce made the Tuesday event possible.
Said Mark NeSmith, PDA co-chairman, who opened the ceremony, "Thank you, Check-Mate for choosing Thomasville for your business."
Check-Mate, previously headquartered in Long Island, New York, will manufacture firearm magazines, among other products, at the Thomasville plant, which will employ 230 within five years.
Senior reporter Patti Dozier can be reached at (229) 226-2400, ext. 1820