ROCKINGHAM – Tri-City, Inc. is a business that reflects the personality of the family that owns and operates it.
The Robinettes, including COO and asset manager Kenneth, his wife and president Claudia, son and CEO Neil, and daughter and leasing and tenant relations manager Gabrielle, believe in the importance of giving back to the community they love. Tri-City, Inc. allows them the avenue in which to do just that.
The Robinettes cultivated their strong work ethic and the spirit of giving back from a great mentor. Claudia Robinette’s father, Claude Smith, worked in his family’s business, Marston Broom Factory, before owning it. Smith also developed a broom-making machine and obtained a patent for it.
“He sold the patent, allowing him to get into the real estate business,” Claudia Robinette stated. “J.C. Penney was his first store (tenant).”
“That was back around 1964, and it was a big deal to get a big store like that,” Kenneth Robinette added. “That’s how it all began, and he (Smith) kept building from there.”
The Tri-City, Inc. team enjoys developing projects that bring the Richmond County community together, such as festivals and other events. One event that the company has sponsored is Hoptoberfest, a craft beer and chicken wing celebration. Last week, the Robinette’s announced they would be sponsoring five $2000 annual scholarships to Richmond Community College through the Lois Smith Memorial Scholarship for Future Teachers.
Gabrielle Robinette initiated the idea of bringing an ice rink to Richmond Plaza the last two years.
“This is something a lot of kids around here have never had the opportunity to experience,” Kenneth Robinette said of the ice rink. “I think we’re about the only really rural county that has done this.”
The proceeds from this project are donated to Toys for Tots and the AMVETS. Tri-City, Inc. partners with Habitat for Humanity, Richmond County Chamber of Commerce (Hoptoberfest), and other organizations, in establishing county-wide events.
The evidence of Tri-City, Inc’s. economic development impact can be seen all around, beginning with the revitalization of the shopping center and the securing of new leases, new tenants.
“I just feel like Richmond County is seeing a revitalization,” said Christie Padgett, owner of a small business located in Richmond Plaza. “The Robinettes have put so much work into the shopping center, and in pulling new businesses in, I just feel like it’s a great time to own a business here”.
Tina Sugg, of the newly relocated Our Southern Roots expressed her pleasure with being a part of Richmond Plaza.
“We’ve been pleased with the outcome of moving our location here (Richmond Plaza Shopping Center) from US Highway 1,” Sugg said. “The Robinettes seem enthused about us moving here, they’ve been nothing but good help.
“During our grand opening, every single one of them was here,” Sugg continued. “They are just really, really, supportive. They treat you like family.”
It’s clear that Tri-City, Inc. has continued to grow, and the next generation is now beginning to take the reins.
“Neil and Gabrielle are both hard workers and make a good team,” Kenneth Robinette said of his children. “They were both responsible for the revitalization of Richmond Plaza.”
He was also quick to acknowledge additional staff at Tri-City, Inc.
“We’ve got really good professionals that work hard,” Robinette continued. “We treat everybody like family because they’re family to us. We’re pretty blessed to have the staff that we do.”
The impact of the Tri-City, Inc. team on Richmond County has been tremendously overwhelming. Suffice it to say, they are not done yet. This team of energetic and highly motivated individuals are constantly on the lookout for the next big thing for the community. Richmond County is fortunate to have talented citizens working on its behalf daily to make the county the best that it can be.
“This is home for us, and this is where Tri-City actually started,” Robinette said of the company’s future. “We want to continue to be a big part of Richmond County.
“We’re going to be very supportive of local entrepreneurs who want to open up their businesses here,” he continued.
Robinette also believes economic development and job training is a vital part in bringing in new companies, new industries and new jobs.