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Carolina Packers Receives Industry Appreciation Award

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Representatives from Carolina Packers accept the first Johnston County Industry Appreciation Award

Smithfield, NC -- On Monday, the Johnston County Commissioners and the Johnston County Economic Development Advisory Board recognized Carolina Packers of Smithfield for their longstanding commitment to Johnston County by honoring the company with the County's first "Industry Appreciation" award.  This award will be presented quarterly to Johnston County industries.

"As we grew and prospered as a community, we felt it was key for our County to recognize the existing industries and businesses here in Johnston County," stated Jeff Carver, Chairman of Johnston County Board of Commissioners. "We couldn't be more honored to recognize one of our oldest industries - Carolina Packers."


Carolina Packing Company, as it was originally called, was founded in Smithfield, North Carolina by John A. Jones, Sr., a native of Claxton, Georgia, and a group of local businessmen, on December 12, 1940. Later, in 1941, the name was changed to Carolina Packers Incorporated.

From the very beginning Carolina Packers created a much-needed livestock market for Smithfield-area farmers, many of whom became charter stockholders in the new company. For the next 50 years, Carolina Packers processed locally grown beef and pork into hams, bacon, country link sausage, and their famous family of "Bright Leaf" hot dogs, bologna, red-hots, and smoked sausage. In 1997, Carolina Packers discontinued slaughtering operations to concentrate their efforts on the Bright Leaf product line.

The "Bright Leaf" name is rooted in Johnston County's agricultural heritage that was dominated by tobacco during the early years. On US Highway 301 in Smithfield, NC where their plant is located, it is now called Brightleaf Boulevard because of the number of tobacco warehouses that lined the highway through Smithfield during the mid-to-late 1900's. In addition, many of the Carolina Packers customers and suppliers grew tobacco as part of their farming operations, so they adopted this name, along with the tobacco leaf in their logo, to identify with a proud agricultural heritage.

In March 1977, Mr. Jones' son, Buck, became president and remained so until his death in 2005. Buck's wife, Jean, continues to carry on the food-service legacy founded over 70 years ago.

"You can't turn on the radio, go to a Carolina Mudcats or Durham Bulls baseball game, or attend any local college football game such as ECU or NC State without hearing and seeing the name 'Carolina Packers Bright Leaf Hotdogs'," expressed Allen Wellons, President of the Johnston County Economic Development Advisory Board. "We are very appreciative for the commitment Carolina Packers has made in not only promoting their fine products, but also in promoting Johnston County."


While Carolina Packers has undergone many changes over the years, they have remained loyal to the traditions that have made them a family favorite on the dinner tables of eastern North Carolinians for over seven decades. Like their famous hot dog recipe, their commitment to providing good-tasting, wholesome products has not - and will not - change.

For more information about Carolina Packers, visit http://www.carolinapackers.com or follow them on Facebook at Bright Leaf Hotdogs.

CPI Award logo med image

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Johnston County Economic Development Office
3149 Swift Creek Road, Smithfield, NC USA 27577
Phone: 919-205-1232     E-Mail: econdev@johnstonnc.com