Page 1

2012 | 速

johnston county, north carolina

THIS WILL BE ON THE TEST School system garners high marks

LIVING TO YOUR LIKING Communities blend history and progress

Courting More Business Growth continues with new companies, expansions sponsored by the Johnston county association of chambers of commerce

Need a place to host a meeting or a special event? Call on us! We offer flexible space for up to 80 people, full audiovisual support and full catering services.

Complimentary Breakfast • FREE Wireless Internet FREE Local Calls • Business Center • Outdoor Pool Exercise Room • Expanded Cable/HBO 100% Hampton Guarantee Check Out Our Specials … Golf Packages for Four Beautiful Courses Romance Package to Pamper Yourself and the One You Love Multiple Day Golf Specials

Hampton Inn – Dunn, NC

Enjoy the Hampton Experience While Visiting Harnett County We Love Having You Here!

100 Jesse Tart Circle Dunn, NC 28334 (910) 892-4333

Three Day/Two Night Mini Vacation

2012 edition | volume 7 速

Johnston County, North Carolina co nte nt s F e atu r e s 10 living to your liking


Communities blend history and progress

16 This will be on the test School system garners high marks

20 Courting More Business Growth continues with new companies, expansions

d e pa r tm e nt s 6 Almanac 22 Biz Briefs 25 Chamber Report 27 Economic Profile 28 Image Gallery 34 Local Flavor 38 Arts & Culture 40 Education 42 Health & Wellness 44 Sports & Recreation 47 Community Profile 48 Through the Lens on the cover The Johnston County Courthouse in Smithfield Photo by Todd Bennett


All or part of this magazine is printed with soy ink on recycled paper containing 10% post-consumer waste.

Please recycle this magazine

l i va b i l i t y. c o m /j o h n s t o n - c o u n t y/ n c


What’s Online

Photos See more great photos of Johnston County in our online photo galleries



THIS WILL BE ON THE TEST School system garners high marks

LIVING TO YOUR LIKING Communities blend history and progress

Courting More Business Growth continues with new companies, explansions SpONSOREd BY THE jOHNSTON COUNTY aSSOCIaTION Of CHaMBERS Of COMMERCE

Digital magazine Flip through the pages of this magazine and easily share articles using Facebook, Twitter or email.



living here

Get the most up-to-date info on cost of living, top employers, schools, population demographics and more

Watch quick videos of local attractions

Learn the basics about local neighborhoods, schools and health care providers


270 N. Equity Dr. Smithfield, NC

Johnston County, North Carolina


content Director Lisa battles Proofreading Manager Raven Petty Content Coordinator Jessica Walker

Platinum/Gold Hospitality Award Winner 2006-2012

Staff Writer Kevin Litwin Copy Editor Jill Wyatt Contributing writers Gary carter, melanie hill, joe morris, jessica walker, betsy williams, tiffany williams Senior Graphic Designers Laura Gallagher, Janine Maryland, Kris Sexton, Vikki Williams Graphic Designers Rachael Gerringer, Taylor nunley Senior Photographers Jeff Adkins, Brian McCord Staff Photographers Todd Bennett, Antony Boshier color imaging technician Alison Hunter Integrated Media Manager jared lane Ad Production Manager Katie Middendorf Ad Traffic Assistants Krystin Lemmon, Patricia Moisan Chairman Greg Thurman President/Publisher Bob Schwartzman

• Free hot breakfast • Free high-speed Internet • In-room coffee maker, hair dryer, iron and ironing board • Free coffee, local calls and newspaper Monday-Saturday

Executive Vice President Ray Langen Senior V.P./Sales Todd Potter Senior V.P./Operations Casey Hester Senior V.P./Client Development Jeff Heefner Senior V.P./business Development Scott Templeton senior V.P./Agribusiness Publishing Kim HOlmberg V.P./business Development Charles Fitzgibbon V.p./External Communications Teree Caruthers V.P./Visual Content Mark Forester V.P./Content Operations Natasha Lorens v.p./Travel publishing Susan Chappell V.P./Sales Herb Harper, Jarek Swekosky Controller Chris Dudley Senior Accountant Lisa Owens

• Exercise room and seasonal outdoor pool • Near many area attractions including Ava Gardner Museum, Bentonville Battlefield and several restaurants • Adjacent to Premium Outlet Mall with over 80 stores

Accounts Payable Coordinator Maria McFarland Accounts Receivable Coordinator Diana Guzman sales support Coordinator alex marks sales support project manager sara quint system administrator daniel cantrell


We’ll see you there.

Database Manager/IT Support Chandra Bradshaw Web creative director allison davis Web Content Manager John Hood Web project manager noy fongnaly Web designer II Richard stevens

The ONLY Company that has SOLD Johnston County 50+ years!

Web development lead Yamel Hall Web developer i nels noseworthy Web Account Manager Lauren Eubank Photography Director Jeffrey S. Otto Creative Services Director Christina Carden publication design Director murry keith Creative Technology Analyst becca ary audience development Director deanna nelson Distribution Director Gary Smith Executive Secretary Kristy Duncan Human Resources Manager Peggy Blake Receptionist Linda Bishop

CommerCial • reSidential • land • ProPerty management TWO LOCATIONS TO SERVE YOU:

Images Johnston County is published annually by Journal Communications Inc. and is distributed through the Johnston County Association of Chambers of Commerce and its member businesses. For advertising information or to direct questions or comments about the magazine, contact Journal Communications Inc. at (615) 771-0080 or by email at For more information, contact: Greater Smithfield-Selma Area Chamber of Commerce 1115 Industrial Park Dr. • Smithfield, NC 27577 Phone: (919) 934-9166 • Fax: (919) 934-1337 Visit Images Johnston County online at

Smithfield Office

Clayton Office

Whit Whitley Realtor®, GRI, CRS – Broker in Charge

Denise Pilkington Realtor®, SRES – Broker/Manager

(919) 934-4550

(919) 359-2131

200 Fareway Dr. Off West Market St. across from Rose Manor Subdivision

10007 US 70 Business Hwy. W. Near Hwy. 42 East Intersection

“Don’t Settle for Less – Experience the Gold Standard”

©Copyright 2012 Journal Communications Inc., 725 Cool Springs Blvd., Suite 400, Franklin, TN 37067, (615) 771-0080. All rights reserved. No portion of this magazine may be reproduced in whole or in part without written consent. Member

The Association of Magazine Media Member

Custom Content Council

Member Greater Smithfield-Selma Area Chamber of Commerce

l i va b i l i t y. c o m /j o h n s t o n - c o u n t y/ n c



Welcome to Johnston County An introduction to the area’s people, places and events

Preserving the Past The Benson Museum of Local History was established in 1987 with the mission of collecting, preserving and displaying historically significant items related to Benson’s agricultural heritage, its founding fathers, its country doctors and more. These items include railroad memorabilia, antiques, quilts, farming equipment and hardware artifacts. The Johnston County Heritage Center is a department of the Johnston County government and was created in 1997 to preserve the history and culture of Johnston County. The Heritage Center offers numerous print, microfilm and digital exhibits that contain information about Johnston County, such as census records from 1850 to 1930, records of wills from 1761 to 1968 and a digital database of newspaper obituaries from 1801 to present.

Farm-Fresh Foods Johnston County residents enjoy three primary farmers markets, all promoting eating fresher foods, supporting local farmers and businesses, and protecting sustainable resources. The Smithfield Farmers Market in downtown Smithfield opens on Fridays during the spring and is also open on Saturdays during summer months. The Clayton Farm and Community Market, featuring foods and crafts from farmers and artisans in the Clayton community, is open between April and October. The Four Oaks Farmer’s Market, a food-only market, is held on Thursday, Friday and Saturday during the growing season.


J o h n sto n Co u nt y

Fast Facts n Johnston County is located midway between New York and Florida on I-95.

Nostalgic Treasures

n The county has 11 municipalities: Benson, Clayton, Four Oaks, Kenly, Micro, Pine Level, Princeton, Selma, Smithfield, Archer Lodge and Wilson’s Mills.

Selma’s Antique District is filled with antique dealers, art shops and specialty stores, all situated along a picturesque 1950s streetscape. The district has provided an economic boost for the area and drawn national attention over the past several years. Selma hosts several antiques-related national events, such as the annual Selma East Coast Show, which attracts dealers of books, tools, furniture, and coins and Confederate money. In all, the district is home to more than 100,000 square feet of antique shops and malls. While the competition is steep, the antique dealers remain friendly and cooperative.

n The Tobacco Farm Life Museum in Kenly showcases agriculture as it was in the late 1800s and early 1900s.

Johnston County At A Glance POPULATION (2010 ESTIMATE) Johnston County: 168,878 Clayton: 16,116 Smithfield: 10,966 Selma: 6,073 Benson: 3,311 Cleveland area: 11,900 LOCATION Johnston County is in eastcentral North Carolina, about 30 miles south-east of Raleigh. BEGINNINGS Johnston County was formed in 1746 and named after Gabriel Johnston, a royal governor of the state. FOR MORE INFORMATION Greater Smithfield-Selma Area Chamber of Commerce 1115 Industrial Park Dr. P.O. Box 467 Smithfield, NC 27577 Phone: (919) 934-9166 Fax: (919) 934-1337

96 40

Raleigh Clayton Cleveland Area 50





Selma Smithfield

40 301

Four Oaks


Benson 701

n Johnston County ranks first in the state of North Carolina for the number of operating farms. n Pharmacist Lunsford Richardson, who developed the formula for the cold salve Vicks VapoRub, grew up near Selma in the mid-1800s. n Johnston County is the nation’s largest grower of sweet potatoes, and the North Carolina Sweet Potato Commission is headquartered in Benson. n Smithfield has been named one of the Top 10 Great Places to Ride a Bike by


Johnston County

What’s Online  Take a virtual tour of Johnston County, courtesy of our awardwinning photographers, at

l i va b i l i t y. c o m /j o h n s t o n - c o u n t y/ n c


Top 10

Fun and Unusual Museums


Smithfield made the list. Top 10 Fun and Unusual Museums

See more Top 10 lists at


Introducing the Top 10 Lists New lists every month | Not your average lists | Not your average website

Honoring a Legend of Tinseltown’s Golden Era The Ava Gardner Museum preserves the legacy of actress Ava Gardner, a tinseltown legend who found fame and fortune after humble beginnings in a rural community seven miles east of Smithfield. The museum features memorabilia from some of Ava’s films, such as her cape and shoes from The Barefoot Contessa and her classic dress from The Great Sinner. In addition to these types of items, the museum displays some things more reflective of her personal life, such as a watch she gave to former husband Frank Sinatra. In all, the museum is home to more than 20,000 pieces plus various multi-media exhibits, giving visitors the ability to better appreciate Ava’s life and career.

Fighting the Erosion of Time

Honoring the Arts and Artist Artist Frank Creech spent two decades teaching, painting, drawing, sculpting and photographing at Johnston Community College. In December 2010, the college proudly unveiled the Frank Creech Art Gallery to honor Creech’s contributions to both the college and the arts. This 1,500-square-foot gallery contains state-of-the-art exhibition space and a 750-square-foot reception area used to sell art. The gallery has museum-quality lighting, climate control, hanging and security systems. The gallery’s inaugural show, Frank & Friends, featured selected acrylic, mixed-media and watercolor paintings from Creech’s personal collection, as well as oil paintings, pottery, photography and jewelry created by fellow artists and his 10-year-old granddaughter, Emma.

Fought over the course of March 19-21, 1865, the Battle of Bentonville was the last full-scale combat of the Civil War in which Confederate forces mounted a tactical offensive. It was the largest battle ever fought in North Carolina and the only significant effort to challenge Gen. Sherman’s troops in their march through the Carolinas in spring spring 1865. Today, the site is a National Historic Landmark, and much of the battlefield remains undisturbed. Special activities surround the anniversary of the battle each March, with living history programs in July and August. The visitor center features a 10-minute audiovisual exhibit, as well as a new, audiovisual fiber-optic map.

l i va b i l i t y. c o m /j o h n s t o n - c o u n t y/ n c


Staff Photo

Photo Courtesy of George Johnson

Staff Photo


J o h n sto n Co u nt y

LIVING TO YOUR LIKING Johnston County’s welcoming towns and neighborhoods Blend history & progress

Story By Gary Carter


fter more than 50 years of observing life in Johnston County, local radio personality Carl Lamm certainly understands the heart and soul of his home area. “In Johnston County, we have a blend of yesterday and today, with a present that’s pointed toward the future,” Lamm says. “It makes this a well-balanced community and great place to live.” Rural Roots Run Deep The past is certainly evident in the eastern section of Johnston County, which remains deeply rural and tied strongly to the area’s agricultural tradition. In

fact, the county still has the largest number of working farms in North Carolina, providing a solid economic foundation. Numerous small communities – Princeton is the largest – blend with farmland and forest to create a peaceful setting that reflects the area’s historic roots. In contrast, lively modern development characterizes Johnston County’s western reaches, which have felt the influence of the nearby Triangle region with its urban centers, universities and pulsing economic activity. Several large manufacturers and pharmaceutical companies have spurred development in and around Clayton and Archer Lodge, situated just a short drive from the state capital of Raleigh and the progressive Research Triangle

Clockwise from top: Johnston County has the largest number of working farms in North Carolina; A historic home on North Second Street in Smithfield; Benson Mule Days is one of the largest festivals in the state, drawing 40,00050,000 people from around the world, and features rodeos, carnival rides, parades, bluegrass shows and more.

l i va b i l i t y. c o m /j o h n s t o n - c o u n t y/ n c



J o h n sto n Co u nt y

photos by Todd Bennett

Staff Photo

Staff Photo

Park. The easy commute makes this area ideal for families wanting to live in quiet suburban communities or along the tree-lined streets of charming small towns. Driven by Transportation The past and future intersect in the central portion of Johnston County where transportation has played a key role in growth since a ferry crossing was put on the Neuse River in 1759. Now, with two interstates – 40 and 95 – and U.S. 70 crossing the county, it has become a vital corridor spurring business and development in Selma, Benson, Four Oaks, Kenly and Smithfield, which has been the county seat since 1771 and remains the largest town. Amtrak also makes a daily stop in Selma, while Johnston County Airport and easily accessible

Raleigh-Durham International Airport make air travel convenient. Living Options Abound But even this rapid pace and high-tech infusion have not detracted from the traditional quality of life and relaxed atmosphere for which Johnston County is renowned. Newcomers and long-time residents can select from a broad selection of living options, ranging from contemporary suburban neighborhoods with amenities, to bungalows and stately Victorian homes on sedate streets. A highly regarded public school system serves Johnston County’s children, while Johnston Community College and other nearby colleges and universities offer access to higher learning programs.

Clockwise from top left: Homes in downtown Benson; Canoeing is a popular activity on the Neuse River; His ‘n Hers Antiques is one of many antique stores in Selma; Johnston Community College and other nearby colleges and universities offer higher education in Johnston County; Mountain biking at Legend Park in Clayton

l i va b i l i t y. c o m /j o h n s t o n - c o u n t y/ n c


Willowrun Veterinary Hospital 1417 S. Brightleaf Blvd. • Smithfield, NC 27577

Dr. William E. Smith Dr. Eileen P. Langdon

State-of-the-art veterinary care with a hometown feel. Convenient Drop-Off Hours and Evening/Saturday Office Hours Complete Companion Animal Care Dentistry On-site Diagnostic Laboratory Elective Surgeries Orthopedic and Soft Tissue Surgeries Geriatric Care At-Home Veterinary Hospice Care and Euthanasia Wellness and Preventative Medicine Digital Radiology Ultrasonography and Endoscopy Grooming Boarding with Luxury Suites Microchipping

919.934.1504 | Fax: 919.934.1668 |

A Seegars fence not only beautifies a home but increases property value as well. And with the Seegars name comes the assurance of the finest construction, selection, and security to give you satisfaction and peace of mind. As the industry’s leader in quality and service for more than 62 years, seegars Fence Company can meet the demands of the most discerning customer.

Residential CommeRCial industRial demand the Best. 1-888-seeGaRs


J o h n sto n Co u nt y

Todd Bennett

Homes in Flowers Plantation, a planned community in Clayton

Four distinct seasons, with generally mild temperatures, make Johnston County a perfect place for active individuals. The entire area is dotted with public parks and athletic complexes, while nature lovers will find miles of trails and pristine settings. Johnston County residents also benefit from a vibrant medical community that provides a complete range of outstanding services. In essence, it’s the best of all worlds in Johnston County, where high-tech buzz and Southern hospitality combine for a well-balanced lifestyle and promising future.

For More Info For even more reasons to call Johnston County home, visit There you’ll find more information on the region’s attractions, education options, economic climate, restaurants, sports and recreation offerings and more.

l i va b i l i t y. c o m /j o h n s t o n - c o u n t y/ n c


Students work on a math problem at Corinth Holders High School in northern Johnston County

School system earns high marks in several areas

Story By Kevin Litwin | Photography By todd bennett


he Johnston County Schools system has been making a lot of news lately. A lot of good news. The district recently added two new high schools – Cleveland High and Corinth Holders High – bringing the total of schools in the system to 46. There are 32,000 16

J o h n sto n Co u nt y

students in grades K-12 throughout JCS, and the district’s 4,000 employees make it the county’s largest employer. Meanwhile, two other high schools in the district – Johnston County Early College Academy and Johnston County Middle College High – both allow students to earn

college credits while they are enrolled in high school. “Both schools let high schoolers attend several classes at Johnston Community College, and ultimately eliminate some future tuition costs for their parents,” says Terri Sessoms, Johnston County Schools public information officer. “Most students

in Early College Academy will have a college associate degree by the time they graduate from high school.” AdvancED Thinking Sessoms is also proud to point out that the district is now accredited by AdvancED, a global leader in advancing education excellence

through accreditation and school improvement. “There are seven criteria a district needs to meet in order to become accredited by AdvancED, and Johnston County scored highly on all seven,” she says. “In fact, JCS achieved the highest possible score. Our system was ranked ‘highly

functional,’ which is the best ranking a district can get.” One of the criteria involves having a good relationship and communicating well with parents and community members, making sure they are involved in the district’s decision making. “When our high school graduates l i va b i l i t y. c o m /j o h n s t o n - c o u n t y/ n c


apply for various colleges, being accredited by AdvancED gives them an edge in the application process,” Sessoms says. Going Global More than 40 languages are spoken by students in Johnston County, so it is one of the first school systems across the state to become an inaugural member of the Global Schools Network. As a result, Johnston County Schools is hosting 30 visiting international faculty members from around the world, and many local schools are partnering with schools in Australia, China, Denmark and South America. “When people talk about a global environment, it is happening here in our school system,” Sessoms says. International Intrigue Other news in the district includes an application being accepted for Smithfield-Selma High School to offer International Baccalaureate courses beginning in the 2012-13 school year, plus Sessoms says a few middle schools are now mixing English-speaking and Spanishspeaking students together in classrooms to learn all subjects side by side. “Overall, the student population of Johnston County Schools has doubled in the past 15 years, due to the excellent education that is provided,” she says. “We have 292 nationally board-certified teachers, which places JCS within the top 50 school districts in the nation. Everything we do is aimed at empowering all of our students to become successful in a global society.”

Clockwise from top left: Students work in the library at Cleveland High School, one of Johnston County’s newest high schools; There are 32,000 students in grades K-12 throughout the Johnston County Schools system; Cleveland High School in Clayton


J o h n sto n Co u nt y

l i va b i l i t y. c o m /j o h n s t o n - c o u n t y/ n c




BUSINESS Johnston County keeps growing with new companies, expansions

Story By Betsy Williams | Photography By todd Bennett


hen proactive leadership, a strategic location and a skilled workforce are combined, economic magic can happen. That has certainly been the case in Johnston County, which has pulled several big rabbits out of its proverbial hat during the past two years. From the November 2011 opening of the $25.4 million Automatic Rolls of North Carolina facility in Clayton to the $268 million expansion of Grifols Inc. (formerly Talecris), Johnston County is seeing explosive growth, with payrolls to match. New Companies, Big Expansions Automatic Rolls’ Clayton plant, the country’s largest hamburger bun supplier for McDonald’s, employs 84 workers at an average wage of $42,000 at its 80,000-square-foot facility. Grifols, the third largest manufacturer of medicine from plasma, will provide 259 new jobs with its 160,000-square-foot expansion


J o h n sto n Co u nt y

of the Clayton blood fractionation facility, thus allowing a 43 percent increase over its current plasma processing capacity. Becton, Dickenson and Company, an international pharmaceutical conglomerate with research facilities in the nearby Research Triangle Park, has invested $38 million in a 750,000-square-foot, LEED-certified distribution facility located in Four Oaks, where 190 people will be hired over the course of the next few years. And Caterpillar just announced 199 new jobs at its plant in western Johnston County. “The county is an excellent location for industry,” says Peggy Anderson, director of the Johnston County Economic Development Commission. “With two major interstates serving our communities, access to two ports, rail service, our proximity to the Research Triangle Park, a highly skilled and available workforce, and the strong leadership that guides our economic and community development efforts, we have been extremely successful in weathering the economic

Top and bottom left: Ergonomic Concepts, a manufacturer of ergonomic office furniture, in Selma Bottom right: Automatic Rolls of North Carolina is the country’s largest hamburger bun supplier for McDonald’s.

downturn and seeing companies continue to locate and expand here.” Ready for Fast-Track Projects The county offers several certified shovel-ready sites along the I-95 corridor, meaning that environmental assessments, surveys and geotechnical studies have been completed. “We know the soil quality, how many buildable acres and what percentage of wetlands a site might contain,” Anderson says. “So many projects today are fasttracked, and this puts us in the lead position when it comes to successfully recruiting multimillion dollar investments and new jobs into Johnston County.” Anderson says that one of the county’s strongest assets is its proximity to a university system that includes the University of North Carolina, Duke University, North Carolina State University and East Carolina University, which play a huge role in the recruitment of new pharmaceutical jobs.

The county has its own incentive fund pool that may be offered to qualifying companies, and local leaders work in cooperation with regional and state officials in securing additional grants that help seal the deal when new companies come calling. These grants are used to fund water, sewer and road infrastructure. Ergonomic Concepts Leadership played a big factor when Ergonomic Concepts, a manufacturer of ergonomic office furniture, selected Johnston County as its home. “Selma city officials and the Johnston County Economic Development Authority have been extremely helpful,” says company owner Brian Frazier. “Their sensitivity to my needs as an employer in Johnston County exemplifies their commitment to be a proactive partner in the business community, and I would highly recommend any company looking to relocate to consider the Smithfield-Selma area.” l i va b i l i t y. c o m /j o h n s t o n - c o u n t y/ n c



Biz Briefs Businesses – both large and small – that help define johnston county’s economic climate

Scorecard Business At A Glance

$2 billion Annual Retail Sales


$197 million Annual Hotel and Food Sales

13,283 Total Number of Firms Source: U.S. Census QuickFacts

Photo Courtesy of Ron Sloan, Sloan Communications

Retail Sales per Capita

Four Oaks Bank Biz: Bank Buzz: Celebrating 100 years of service in 2012, Four Oaks Bank opened its first office in Four Oaks, N.C. The bank opened another branch in Clayton in 1986, and soon began constructing additional locations in Clayton, Smithfield, Garner, Benson and other cities. Now, Four Oaks Bank has 17 offices in eight counties in eastern North Carolina. 22

J o h n sto n Co u nt y

The Clayton News-Star Biz: Newspaper Buzz: The Clayton News-Star has been keeping Johnston County residents up-to-date on local happenings for 100 years. Owned by The News & Observer, the newspaper primarily focuses on Clayton, while also reporting on newsworthy occurrences in Smithfield. The Clayton News-Star currently reaches approximately 19,000 households and is published three times a week, which includes a Sunday edition. Zaxby’s Biz: Restaurant Buzz: Zaxby’s offers two locations in Johnston County, in Clayton and Smithfield, both of which are locally owned and operated by Michael and Kelly Smith. In addition to serving fresh chicken, sandwiches, salads and more, these Zaxby’s restaurants support various local organizations and make an annual donation of $25,000 to the Johnston Community College Performing Arts Program. E.D. Parker Corp. Biz: Construction firm Buzz: Specializing in apartment, commercial and industrial construction, E.D. Parker Corp. has been serving the Mid-Atlantic area since 1975. The Benson-based company constructs new facilities and completes renovations, and offers its services from the preconstruction phase all the way through post-construction. E.D. Parker Corp. has worked on hotels, warehouses, medical buildings, car dealerships and other projects. MasterTrax Biz: Recording studio Buzz: Located in Selma, MasterTrax serves both individual artists and large groups, and offers clients an affordable experience while also creating highquality products. The recording studio is equipped with custom audio designs and includes a tracking room, drum and isolation booths, and a lounge. Studio musicians are available to assist with projects, as well as a graphic artist and photographer.


Benson AreA MedicAl center is A coMMunity-owned, non-profit providing quAlity heAlth cAre to All Ages. The providers at Benson Area Medical Center Inc. are specially trained and certified in the care of infants, children, adults and the elderly. We are dedicated to giving caring service and providing comprehensive health care to all members of your family.

3333 N.C. Hwy. 242 N. • Benson, NC • (919) 894-2011

Johnston County a great place to work and play! Johnston County Board of Commissioners Allen L. Mims Jr.


Jeffrey P. Carver


DeVan Barbour Tony Braswell Cookie Pope Wade M. Stewart W. Ray Woodall


J o h n sto n Co u nt y


Chamber Report Seven chambers back Teacher of the Year award


ach May, the seven-chamber Johnston County Association of Chambers of Commerce announces the recipient of the annual Flame for Learning Award. The prestigious honor is Johnston County’s equivalent to the teacher of the year award. “The term Flame for Learning is taken from the Johnston County Schools mission, which states that the district will foster a flame for learning within each child that will last a lifetime,” says Rick Childrey, president of the Greater SmithfieldSelma Area Chamber of Commerce.

Saluted by Delta Kappa Gamma The reigning Flame for Learning Award winner for Johnston County Schools is Randy Parker, a teacher at Clayton High School who garnered the 2011-12 honor. The overall program has received plenty of positive accolades, including being called an excellent initiative

by Delta Kappa Gamma International. “The seven Johnston County chambers … all enjoy being part of such a worthwhile project,” Childrey says. “The hard-working, innovative teachers of this community deserve such recognition.”  – Kevin Litwin

Innovation and Creativity The Flame for Learning Award is meant to recognize innovation and creativity in the classroom, with the annual winner being chosen from 20 semifinalists. Those 20 teachers are nominated by anyone who is an employee of Johnston County Schools. “Nominations can come from the superintendent, principals, teachers, cafeteria workers, bus drivers, maintenance – any JCS employee can nominate a teacher who uses a “great best practice” in the classroom, and has the biggest impact on their students,” Childrey says. The Flame for Learning Award began in 1994, and the 19th winner will represent the district during the 2012-13 school year once their name is announced at the May 2012 banquet. “The winner is always named prior to the upcoming school year, because that person will then compete in future months on a regional and statewide level to hopefully achieve more top teacher honors,” Childrey says.

l i va b i l i t y. c o m /j o h n s t o n - c o u n t y/ n c


Design-Build | Since 1973 Commercial, Medical, Industrial & Commercial Property Management

For more information, contact us at (919) 934-6651 or visit our website at


J o h n sto n Co u nt y

economic profile Business climate Johnston County offers a workforce development center and is close to the renowned Research Triangle Area, as well as three nationally known research hospitals. It is one of the fastestgrowing counties in the United States.

Johnston County Airport 3149 Swift Creek Road Smithfield, NC 27577 (919) 934-0992

Carolina Packers

Selma Historic Union Station/AMTRAK 500 Railroad St. Selma, NC 27576 (800) 872-7245

Economic Resources


74% White-Collar Jobs

Tax Structure



Blue-Collar Jobs

County Sales Tax

5.25% State Sales Tax

7.75% Total Sales Tax


$18,406 Per Capita Income

$43,755 Average Annual Household Expenditure



26% Associate Degree

13% Bachelor’s Degree

5% Graduate Degree

top employers Johnston County School System Johnston County Government Wal-Mart Stores

Johnston County Area Transit System 309 E. Market St. Smithfield, NC 27577

Johnston Community College Johnston Health Caterpillar, Inc. Precision Air/Flanders

Novo Nordisk Grifols USA

Greater Smithfield-Selma Area Chamber of Commerce (919) 934-9166 Kenly Area Chamber of Commerce (919) 284-5510 Four Oaks Area Chamber of Commerce (919) 963-4004 Benson Chamber of Commerce (919) 894-3825 Clayton Chamber of Commerce (919) 553-6352 Princeton Chamber of Commerce (919) 631-6860 Greater Cleveland Chamber of Commerce (919) 773-8448 www.greatercleveland Johnston County Economic Development (919) 989-5007 Johnston County Visitors Bureau (919) 989-8687

l i va b i l i t y. c o m /j o h n s t o n - c o u n t y/ n c


Image Gallery

Selma-Smithfield Amtrak Station in Selma Photo by Todd Bennett


J o h n sto n Co u nt y

Image Gallery

Holt Lake in Smithfield Photo By Todd Bennett

l i va b i l i t y. c o m /j o h n s t o n - c o u n t y/ n c


Image Gallery


J o h n sto n Co u nt y

The sun sets behind Holt Lake. Staff Photo

l i va b i l i t y. c o m /j o h n s t o n - c o u n t y/ n c


Image Gallery

World War I memorial at the Johnston County Courthouse in Smithfield Photo by Todd Bennett

3232 J oJhonhsnt sotnoCnoCuonutnyt y

Players battle in a game of pickup basketball at Smithfield Recreation & Aquatics Center in Smithfield Photo by Todd Bennett

l i va b i l i t y. c o m /j o h n s t o n - c o u n t y/ n c


Todd Bennett

Local Flavor

Home-Grown Goods County eateries, facilities attract food lovers from all over


griculture keeps Johnston County’s economy thriving, and keeps residents and visitors enjoying delicious eats throughout the year. In addition to being a haven for food manufacturers, the area is well-stocked with fresh produce and several can’t-miss wineries and vineyards.

Year-round Opportunities for Produce During most warm months, the pick-your-own industry is bustling here. Beasley’s Berries offers strawberries from mid-April through mid-June; Hill’s Peach and Berry Farm & Jan’s Strawberries does as well, along with blackberries, peaches and watermelon in season; blueberries are a specialty at Middlecreek Farm, where trees, birds and cattle also can be had; and Smith’s Nursery in Benson is open year-round with blackberries, blueberries and strawberries in season, and home-produced honey, produce and much more. Want to explore more?

The Johnston County Visitors Bureau keeps an up-to-date listing of agribusiness sites and is adding more all the time.

Muscadine Heritage Wine Trail Comprising Hinnant Family Vineyards, Enoch Winery & Vineyard, Gregory Vineyards and Adams Vineyards, the Muscadine Heritage Wine Trail allows participants to enjoy a variety of wines while also learning more about each family-owned and -operated facility. To complete the trail, visitors must do a paid wine tasting at each winery and buy one bottle from each winery.

A Local Crowd Pleaser True barbecue fans can’t get enough of a Johnston County favorite, known as Eastern Carolina-style barbecue. This particular style of barbecue, which includes a vinegar-based sauce rather than a mustard-based dry rub or a tomato-

Above: Hinnant Family Vineyards in Pine Level Right: The pick-your-own industry is thriving in Johnston County.


J o h n sto n Co u nt y

Fine Wines HINNANT FAMILY VINEYARDS (919) 965-3350 ENOCH WINERY & VINEYARD (919) 207-0100

ADAMS VINEYARDS (919) 567-1010

Jeffrey S. OTTO

GREGORY VINEYARDS (919) 894-7700

l i va b i l i t y. c o m /j o h n s t o n - c o u n t y/ n c



850 Hwy. 42 W. Clayton, NC 27520

(919) 553-4-FUN

Kathy L. Parker Broker in Charge 223 King Mill Rd. Four Oaks, NC 27524 (919) 369-5339

223 King Mill Rd. Four Oaks, NC 27524 (919) 934-3881

Locally Owned & Operated Serving Johnston County Since 1988 CLERICAL • PHARMACEUTICAL INDUSTRIAL • GENERAL LABOR 102 E. Johnston St. • Smithfield, NC 27577 (919) 934-0909 • Mitchell Temporary Services is an Equal Opportunity Employer


J o h n sto n Co u nt y

Living green starts from the ground up. Living green is making sure the air in your home is healthy for your family to breathe. Test your home for radon and build radon-resistant. It's easy. That's living healthy and green.

Just call 866-730-green or visit

Todd Bennett

Local Flavor

Atkinson Milling Company

based sauce, can be found at Johnston County restaurants including Stephenson’s Bar-B-Q and White Swan’s Bar-B-Q.

Food Manufactured Here Located in Smithfield, Johnston County Hams produces country hams‚ spiral-sliced honey hams‚ smoked turkey, prosciutto, and dry-cured and hickorysmoked bacon. The business was started in 1946 and today the food is sold in specialty markets, delis, catalogs and online. Often called Packers dogs or Bright Leaf dogs, Carolina Packers hot dogs are a staple food item at North Carolina State University football games. Easily recognizable due to their red color, the hot dogs are produced and packaged in Smithfield. Stevens Sausage is also manufactured in Smithfield, offering a variety of pork products such as country ham, chitterlings and red smoke sausage. House-Autry Mills in Four Oaks has been creating quality food products since 1812, including corn meal, hushpuppies, and biscuit and cornbread mixes, as well as breaders and coatings for chicken, seafood and pork.

Johnston County Farms Offer Variety of Produce, Workshops Take Boyette Farms in Clayton, where every fall the Clayton Fear Farm offers a pumpkin patch, corn maze, hay playground and Halloween-themed events. Then there’s the Lazy O Farm in Smithfield, which hosts educational tours for children and families as well as special events. Those looking for a little more colorful experience can stop by Toad Song Farm in Clayton, which grows a broad array of herbs, perennial plants and vegetables, and holds workshops throughout the year. Then mix it up with some friendly critters at Arrowhead Farm, where you can milk a goat, hunt for green eggs and more. The Atkinson Milling Company is the last waterpowered gristmill operating in eastern North Carolina. Take a trip to the historic gristmill north of Selma or visit the website at to learn the rich history and order some quality cornmeal products.  – Joe Morris l i va b i l i t y. c o m /j o h n s t o n - c o u n t y/ n c


Arts & Culture

Kathy Mattea performs at the Clayton Center.

Photo Courtesy of Dave Brainard

Rave Reviews County is home to many arts and cultural attractions

What’s Online  Read more about Johnston County’s arts and culture scene at johnston-county/nc.


J o h n sto n Co u nt y


here are many sites to see in Johnston County, especially if you like arts and culture.

Johnston County Arts Council The council promotes the importance of art and culture through dance, music, theater, storytelling, literary arts, visual arts, folk arts and its Artists-in-theSchools program. JCAC was founded in 1972 and today secures grants to provide financial assistance and services to local artists and nonprofit arts and service organizations.

Festivals and Celebrations Johnston County communities know how to throw a party. Every April, the town of Cleveland hosts a Strawberry Festival, while Smithfield has a Ham & Yam Festival in May and a Friends of the 4th Independence Day in July. Other celebrations include an Acorn Festival and Oaktoberfest in Four Oaks, Kruisin’ Kenly Festival, Benson Mule Days, Harvest Festival in Clayton, and the Johnston County December Festival of Trees in Smithfield.

Those wanting to take a journey back to a simpler time can choose from a variety of museums in Johnston County. The Johnston County Heritage Center is in Smithfield, as is the Ava Gardner Museum dedicated solely to the late Hollywood starlet who was born in nearby Brogden. Also in the community are the Benson Museum of Local History, and Bentonville Battlefield State Historic Site where the largest Civil War battle in North Carolina history was fought. Selma Antique District, while not a museum, still preserves history with its array of antique shops and malls, all within walking distance of each other.

Music and More For music enthusiasts, the Clayton Center stages musical theater performances, some concerts and author appearances. In Selma, visitors and residents can enjoy the American Music Jubilee, a two-hour variety show that has become a favorite with tour and church groups from around the country. Every June, Benson hosts the State Annual Singing Convention, while in Smithfield, Johnston Community College hosts the popular Country Music Showcase, a bimonthly show that allows local singers to perform with a live band in a professional setting.

Todd Bennett

Historic Attractions

More than 3,000 reenactors at the Bentonville Battlefield State Historic Site

Southland Realty II

Theatrical Performances Neuse Little Theatre, an actors group in Smithfield, holds four performances each year at the former American Legion Hut overlooking the Neuse River. Meanwhile, Benson Little Theatre has been hosting performances since 2000 at the W.J. Barefoot Auditorium, while the Clayton Youth Theater has been producing quality shows by young people since 2007. – Tiffany Williams

Voted #1 in Johnston County

5160 NC Hwy. 42 W. • (I-40/42 Exit 312) Garner, NC • (919) 773-0991

Toll-free: (800) 325-1845

l i va b i l i t y. c o m /j o h n s t o n - c o u n t y/ n c



Todd Bennett

Extra Credit Students have multiple education options

What’s Online  Read more articles about Johnston County’s diverse learning environments by going to johnston-county/nc.


J o h n sto n Co u nt y


here are multiple choices for getting a good education in Johnston County, starting from preschool and extending through the college experience.

achievement ranks in the top 20 percent of all North Carolina districts, and SAT scores averaging 1022 are above the state and national average.

Johnston County Schools

Neuse Charter School

The district has 46 schools with 32,000 students in grades K-12, making it the sixth largest school system in North Carolina. With the overall population of Johnston County growing each year, JCS is currently the second fastest-growing school system in the state. Student

Johnston County’s only free public charter school made news in 2011 when it opened a new campus off Booker Dairy Road, with separate pods for kindergarten, elementary (grades 1-5), middle school (6-8) and high school (9-10). The school first opened in 2007 and today has 540

students, and will add grades 11 and 12 over the next two years. Neuse Charter School admits students through a lottery system and focuses on international studies, offering foreign language education as early as kindergarten.

Johnston Community College

Partnership for Children of Johnston County This nonprofit organization provides a variety of programs and services to assist families. Partnership for Children programs include providing support and information for families seeking

child care options, and overseeing an intensive parent education program that educates families on child development and parenting skills, in order to promote child language, intellectual growth, and physical and socialemotional skills.  – Jessica Walker

The college, with 4,300 fulltime students, opened a new $8.2 million learning resource center in 2011. It measures 11,500 square feet compared to the old 7,000-square-foot library. The new building is a focal point of the campus, and the second floor is outfitted with distance-learning classrooms. JCC officials now envision a $4 million renovation to turn the old library into a practice hospital for health sciences students.

Johnston County Workforce Development Center The Johnston County Workforce Development Center in Clayton is a training facility focusing on life sciences programming, business training, and workforce development in biotechnology and other sciences. It is a collaborative effort between Johnston County, Johnston County Schools, Johnston County Economic Development, Johnston Community College and local biopharmaceutical industries.

The new $8.2 million learning resource center at Johnston Community College

l i va b i l i t y. c o m /j o h n s t o n - c o u n t y/ n c


Health & Wellness

At Your Service Johnston Health brings the latest services, technology to patients in Johnston County


ohnston Health is redefining health care in central North Carolina. A recent $144 million investment has funded state-of-the-art medical buildings, equipment and services, transforming the system into a comprehensive health-care community. Today, Johnston Health is comprised of 179-bed Johnston Medical Center-Smithfield, medical practices in Kenly and Clayton, and Johnston Medical Center-Clayton, a $30 million emergency care and outpatient center that opened in 2009.

Partners in Cancer Care Cancer patients receive quality care thanks to a partnership between Johnston Health and Duke University Hospital in Durham. With locations in Smithfield and Clayton, Johnston Hematology & Oncology offers patients multiple cancer services under one roof.

“Our patients know and trust our Duke-affiliated oncologists, one of whom has been with us since our program began in 1997,” says Johnston Health CEO Chuck Elliott. “Because of our relationship with Duke, our patients can get world-class care without leaving their home county.” The system also has partnered with Raleighbased Rex-UNC Health Care to offer radiation oncology at clinics in Smithfield and Clayton. Services also include the latest in diagnostic imaging and minimally invasive surgery for detecting and destroying tumors.

Keeping up With Smithfield In 2010, Johnston Health opened a $62 million, five-story patient tower to replace the original Smithfield hospital. And in 2011, the Johnston Health Foundation announced fundraising efforts for a

Technicians assist a patient undergoing treatment at the linear accelerator at Johnston Medical Center.


J o h n sto n Co u nt y

$1.5 million expansion and modernization of the Smithfield emergency department. Currently, the department welcomes more than 47,000 patient visits each year.

Robotic-Assisted Surgery In 2011, Johnston Health welcomed the addition of robotic-assisted surgery via the da Vinci® Surgical System. Currently used by Johnston Health urologists and gynecologists, the high-tech tool enables surgeons to perform complex procedures, such as prostatectomy, with minimal invasion and unmatched precision.

Electrophysiology studies are another new addition to Johnston Health. Conducted by a specially trained cardiologist in a catheterization lab, the minimally invasive procedures help diagnose and treat abnormal heart rhythms. “We’re pleased that the hospital is able to offer more advanced services such as this to patients,” Elliot says. Johnston Health’s commitment to progress is clear. In 2011, the organization was one of 36 hospitals to receive the annual Top Improver Award by Press Ganey, the company that measures patient satisfaction for hospitals across the country. The award recognizes clients who have shown continuous improvement over two years.  – Melanie Hill

Todd Bennett

Electrophysiology Studies

Dr. Charles Scarantino, a radiation oncologist with Rex-UNC Health Care


Caring with Excellence

Hospice House Terminally ill patients find comfort and compassion at the SECU Hospice House of Johnston Health. The 13,689-squarefoot residential and inpatient center opened in 2010 following a $4.5 million capital campaign by the Johnston Health Foundation and a $1 million grant from the State Employees’ Credit Union Foundation. At the Hospice House, an interdisciplinary team provides 24-hour care for patients in a home-like environment. All 18 patient rooms have separate heating and cooling units, in-suite baths and sleeper sofas for visitors. A chapel and meditation garden, full-service kitchen, and dining and living rooms also are on-site. Just as the project was a community effort, so is patient care at the Hospice House. Volunteers provide 13 percent of the care given to patients, far exceeding the 5 percent Medicare mandate for hospice programs.

• 24-hour skilled nursing • Assisted living facility • Short-term rehabilitation • Physical therapy • Speech therapy • Occupational therapy • Special care unit

• Respite care • Hospice care • Daily housekeeping and laundry services • Specialized diets • State-of-the-art facility • Full-time, on-site professional management

Have the security of knowing someone is always there to assist you! There is no time like the present to find out more about our CONTINUUM OF LIFESTYLE CHOICES. Call (919) 207-1717 to learn more about our services or to schedule a personal tour. Located at 2315 NC Hwy. 242 N., Benson, NC 27504.

l i va b i l i t y. c o m /j o h n s t o n - c o u n t y/ n c


Sports & Recreation

An Active Lifestyle Johnston County’s parks, playgrounds and recreation options foster activity for young and old


hile lounging in a rocker on the front porch may be a Southern tradition, Johnston County residents and visitors also enjoy ready access to a wide range of recreational areas and activities that contribute to an active lifestyle. Pick your favorite sport and there’s likely a league or organization ready to welcome you, whether you’re 5 or 55. And if you’re a fan, the nearby Triangle area offers a year-round menu of college and professional sports.

Activities for all Ages The entire county is dotted with public parks, athletic fields, tennis courts and playgrounds that encourage healthy activity, relaxation and socializing. The focus is on the entire family at the Smithfield Recreation and Aquatics Center (SRAC), an innovative joint venture between Johnston County Schools and the town of Smithfield. The spacious facility houses a competitionsized pool and children’s play pool, gym, fitness and strengthtraining rooms, racquetball courts and even a pottery studio. SRAC also offers a variety of classes throughout the year.

Todd Bennett

Mountain Biking and Even Bocce


J o h n sto n Co u nt y

If you like your challenges on two wheels, Clayton’s Legend Park contains roughly 8 miles of readily accessible trails, which also are open to hikers. The town’s 42-acre Community Park features eight bocce courts.

The town of Selma provides residents a variety of youth and adult athletic programs, and hosts the Johnston County Senior Games for the area’s older athletes. A highlight of the town’s special events is the annual Selma Railroad Days Festival, held each October. A center of recreational activity in Kenly is a 9-acre complex with lighted softball and baseball fields, soccer field, trails, playground and picnic area. The municipal park in Benson has something for everyone, with facilities for baseball, softball, horseshoes, shuffleboard and even sand volleyball. And a large picnic shelter is designed for group gatherings.

2,800-acre park also is a recreational hub with hiking, camping, canoeing, hunting and fishing.

Tee it Up And if golf is your game, there’s an abundance of links to challenge you. Pine Hollow Golf Club and Cardinal Country Club

are local favorites, while Country Club of Johnston County winds along picturesque Holt Lake. Riverwood Golf & Athletic Club offers 27 holes, while The Neuse carries an impressive 4.5-star rating from Golf Digest, which also recognized Reedy Creek as one of its “places to play.” – Gary Carter

A Paradise for Nature Lovers The beautiful natural settings in Johnston County also make it an ideal place for nature lovers. More than 50 miles of the scenic Neuse River flow through the county, making it perfect for kayaking, fishing, bird-watching or a stroll along the 3-mile river walk. The Clemmons Educational State Forest was the first of its kind in North Carolina, and is an outdoor classroom where children and adults learn about forest ecosystems through rangerconducted classes and on self-guided trails. Education also is a key component at Howell Woods near Bentonville, but the





Pine Hollow Golf Club in Clayton

l i va b i l i t y. c o m /j o h n s t o n - c o u n t y/ n c


visit our

advertisers Benson Area Medical Center Building Blocks Childcare & Development Center Carolina House Century 21 Suburban Real Estate Inc. Four Oaks Bank Hampton Inn Harnett Health System Johnston Community College Johnston County Board of Commissioners Johnston Memorial Hospital Authority Kathy L. Parker Real Estate Liberty Commons Mitchell Temporary Services Inc. Novo Nordisk Perry Bros. Tire Service Rainbow Lanes Family Fun Center Re/Max Southland Realty II Seegars Fence Company Sign-A-Rama Sleep Inn Stephenson General Contractors TAP Construction Inc. The Tina Barletta Team Town of Smithfield

Can you imagine ‌ a world without children?

6039-TR12260M_TGB_Livability.indd 1

3/22/10 11:40:09 AM

We Can’t.

Call 1-800-996-4100 to help.

Waste Industries Willowrun Veterinary Hospital


J o h n sto n Co u nt y

Community profile Snapshot Smithfield and Johnston County offer a winning combination of small-town charm and easy access to big-city attractions in nearby Raleigh-Durham-Chapel Hill. The area has great health-care facilities and many great opportunities for recreational activities.

cost of living



59% White

Median Household Income

$107,681 Median Home Price

$762 Median Rent for a Two-Bedroom Apartment

Climate The temperature in Johnston County remains temperate year round, with four distinct seasons and a lengthy growing season for flowers and vegetables. Summer highs and winter lows can be extreme but are of very short duration.

90 F °

July High Temperature

29 F °


10% Hispanic

8% Other

household information AGE:

38 Median Resident Age

28% 19 and Under

January Low Temperature




Annual Rain Fall (vs. National Average Annual Rain Fall of 37”)


numbers to know Driver’s License, Vehicle Registration North Carolina Division of Motor Vehicles (919) 715-7000 Voter Registration Johnston County Board of Elections (919) 989-5095 elections Cable Television

55 and Over

time zone Marital Status:


Time Warner Cable (866) 489-2669 DIRECTV (888) 777-2454





Water and Sewer

29 minutes


Median Travel Time to Work


Johnston County Public Utilities Department (919) 989-5075

l i va b i l i t y. c o m /j o h n s t o n - c o u n t y/ n c


Through the Lens

Get the Story Behind the Photo Now that you’ve experienced Johnston County through our photos, see it through the eyes of our photographers. Visit to view our exclusive photographers’ blog documenting what all went in to capturing those perfect moments.

From Our Photo Blog: Johnston County Walking into Johnston County Hams in Smithfield, NC, there’s a door just to the right behind the counter. I follow one of the workers through the door and down a hallway, past a big industrial-sized fan and into a room that would make any country ham lover feel like they’d died and gone to hog heaven. Hanging from metal racks are country hams on top of country hams. This is one of the curing rooms at Johnston County Hams. Rufus Brown is the current cure master for Johnston County


J o h n sto n Co u nt y

Hams, a position his father held before him. Since 1967 the Browns have been responsible for some of the best tasting country hams in the country, getting nods from Esquire, Men’s Health and Southern Living magazines. As someone born and raised in the South, I am all too familiar with the tastes and smells of country ham. For me, the smell brings back fond memories of Christmases past, waking up early and rushing to see what surprises lay buried beneath the tree … After unwrapping everything in

sight with a bow on it, we would almost always sit down to a hearty breakfast cooked by my mom. It wasn’t an elaborate meal by any means; just eggs, bacon, homemade biscuits and country ham, enough to fill our bellies and put a smile on our faces … Posted by todd bennett

More Online  See more favorite photos and read the stories behind the shots at

Images Johnston County, NC: 2012  

The communities in North Carolina's Johnston County – Smithfield, Selma, Clayton, Benson, Cleveland, Four Oaks and Kenly – make up one of th...

Read more
Read more
Similar to
Popular now
Just for you