Looking back: City industry agency formed

Published 10:54 am Friday, April 8, 2016

April 8, 1966

A campaign to sell $33,000 of stock in the Franklin Industrial Corporation (FIC) was launched earlier this week. FIC funds, collected from the sale of stock, will be used to help finance construction of a building to house Sachs Nut Co. The $163,000 building will be located in Franklin’s new industrial park, on Route 671, right next to St. Regis Paper Co.

Sachs, the community’s first new industry since the establishment of Franklin Equipment Co. back in 1962, is moving its plant from Dublin, NC. The Franklin plant is expected to be in operation this summer.

Initial employment will be between 40 and 50 people. Annual payroll is estimated to be between $150,000 and $160,000. Sachs will prepare and package peanuts for sale to wholesalers and jobbers. A good part of their production will go, under various labels, to major league ballparks. Sachs’ specialty is “salted in the shell” peanuts.

The Franklin plant is expected to buy raw peanuts valued at $4 million during its first full year of operation. Primary suppliers will be Hancock Peanut Co. of Courtland, Pretlow Peanut Co. of Franklin, and, possibly, some of the Suffolk peanut companies.

The Sachs Nut Co. location to Franklin is a result of efforts by Franklin Industrial Corporation which was organized to augment, on the local level, industrial development efforts by the Tidewater Virginia Development Council based in Norfolk.

Roger Drake, President of FIC, said Sachs Nut Company is the first major project of the organization.

Drake said, “Sachs will fit nicely into our community using unskilled labor and using raw materials from industries already established here.”

Drake explained that FIC will own the land and building occupied by Sachs subject to a mortgage held by Virginia Industrial Development Corporation and a lease giving Sachs an option to buy the property at the time of any yearly anniversary.

Concerning stock in FIC, individuals and businesses interested in such, should contact Roger Drake at Franklin Equipment Co. or Hanes Byerly at Byerly Publications.


Mayor Darden W. Jones and Vice Mayor James Floyd Briggs both announced early this week that they would seek another four-year term as councilmen in the upcoming city council elections. Councilman G. Carl Steinhardt, however, has decided not to seek another term. A twenty-year veteran of the Council, Steinhardt said, “It is time for me to retire.”

Jones said, “I have been on the Council for 20 years — during which Franklin has grown and prospered. Many projects are in progress. I would like to ask the citizens for their continued support.”

Briggs, a veteran of nine years on the Council, said, “I humbly offer my name as a candidate to succeed myself on the Council and respectfully solicit the support of our good citizens.”

George H. (Top) Hedgepeth became the first newcomer to enter this year’s City Council race when he officially “tossed his hat into the ring” last Friday. During his announcement, he said, “The citizens of the City of Franklin will elect three councilmen on June 14 as their representatives to manage the official affairs of our city. I ask you, the voters of Franklin, to grant me an opportunity to represent you for the coming term. I have some new and constructive ideas.”

Hedgepeth, 39, is married to the former Louise Cook of Newsoms. They have three sons: Dennis, Larry and Brian. He is Personnel Manager at St. Regis Paper Co.

Hedgepeth is Chairman of the Board of Deacons at Franklin Baptist Church. He serves on the Board of Directors of the YMCA and is a member of the Franklin Lions Club and the Franklin Chamber of Commerce.

If elected, the three declared candidates will join councilmen Dr. John A. Murray and Robert A. Pretlow Jr. on the five person Franklin City Council effective September 1, 1966.

Then, the City Council will be required to reorganize. When the five councilmen first meet, the first order of business for them will be to elect from among themselves a mayor and a vice mayor.

And, they will determine continuation of the Franklin City Manager, Harold Atkinson, who also serves as Secretary to the Council.

Murray and Pretlow are still serving first-terms on the Council. They will stand for reelection next year.

All Franklin City Council seats are at-large.

CLYDE PARKER is a retired human resources manager for the former Franklin Equipment Co. and a member of the Southampton County Historical Society. His email address is magnolia101@charter.net