Lenoir (pronounced le-NORE) is a city in Caldwell County, North Carolina, United States. The population was 18,228 at the 2010 census. It is the county seat of Caldwell County. Lenoir is located in the Blue Ridge foothills. To the northeast are the Brushy Mountains, a spur of the Blue Ridge Mountains. Hibriten Mountain, located just east of the city limits, marks the western end of the Brushy Mountains range.
Lenoir is one of the principal cities in the Hickory-Lenoir-Morganton, NC Metropolitan Statistical Area.
The Broyhill Furniture company, one of the largest furniture companies in the United States and part of Heritage Home Group (KPS Capital Partners), recently closed its headquarters in Lenoir. Furniture in general has historically been one of the city’s largest employers. The Bernhardt, Kincaid, and Fairfield furniture companies are also located in or around Lenoir. However, in the 1990s, these companies began changing their business models to reflect consumer trends, and they have closed several of Lenoir’s furniture factories. Recent consolidations of area furniture facilities (Thomasville, Taylorsville, North Wilkesboro, etc.) have netted modest gains in positions in the industry around Lenoir. Now the medical and education sectors are the largest employers in the area.
Google, Inc. has a server farm, or “data center”, located in Lenoir. There was controversy over the nature, amount, and potential benefits of economic development incentives that the City of Lenoir, Caldwell County, and the State of North Carolina gave Google in 2007 to induce the company to build the server farm. The less celebrated benefits of the investment have been construction employment and spending, a small-time server farm investment just outside downtown, Dacentec, as well as local charitable and educational endeavors by Google.
Wholesale nurseries shipping large balled and burlap plants to landscapers in larger metropolitan areas have been a strong source of employment over the last 75 years. Companies such as Roger Coffey and Sons Nursery have seen an increase in sales over the last three years. Valley View Nursery is a third generation nursery that is carrying on the tradition of high quality trees and shrubs that are shipped directly to high end residential homes across the East Coast and upper Midwest. Local nurseries employ around two percent of the local population.