Dessert company bringing business, jobs

By Nick Phillips
Sports Editor

Robeson County, the town of Pembroke and the surrounding communities received good news when Steven Roberts Original Desserts and Ticklebelly Desserts announced it will be opening a bakery in Pembroke in the summer of 2011.

Steve Fabos, CEO of the dessert company, announced the decision to bring the facility to the area on April 12 at COMtech, along with Charles Kosmont, chairman of the company's board of directors, North Carolina Gov. Beverly Purdue, U.S. Rep. Mike McIntyre and State Secretary of Commerce Keith Crisco.

The new bakery provides Steven Roberts Original Desserts and Ticklebelly Desserts increased capacity to manufacture and ship their innovative, signature desserts to clients and consumers across the nation and to continue to meet clients' varied scaling needs.

"Steven Roberts Original Desserts and Ticklebelly Desserts offer dynamic, innovative product development followed by the capacity to bring our clients' products to market on multiple platforms at multiple levels," said Kosmont in a press release.

The dessert company will create 342 jobs over the next three years, and that number could grow higher if the company expands.

The company's third bakery will be located on Jones Street in Pembroke near Pembroke Elementary School.

The facility is an existing bakery and Steven Roberts Original Desserts and Ticklebelly are investing approximately $4 million over the next five years for building upgrades, expansion and equipment.

Cleanup to the 100,000- square-foot building has already began, a process that hired 40 temporary employees.

Steven Roberts Original Desserts and Ticklebelly Desserts selected Pembroke based on the availability of an existing bakery, its geographic location, the funds available through the One North Carolina Fund and the strong potential employee base.

The building's existing, large refrigeration system and spiral freezers both were factors in the selection as well, according to Fabos.

A job fair for the new company will be held soon at Robeson Community College's COMtech facility, and the company will advertise its jobs through Monster, Career Builder, Craigslist and the North Carolina Job Connector.

"We're thrilled to be part of the Pembroke community and we look forward to having our Pembroke team members help us continue to be first to market with our trendsetting desserts," Kosmont said.

UNCP was one of several important pieces that helped get the dessert company to Robeson County.

The company was founded in 1995 and is pivately held.