North Wilkesboro, North Carolina

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North Wilkesboro is a town in Wilkes County, North Carolina, United States. The population was 4,116 at the 2000 census; in July 2009 the Census estimated the population at 4,181. North Wilkesboro is the birthplace and original home of Lowe's Home Improvement, which continues to have a major presence in the community. The town is also known as one of the birthplaces of the sport of stock-car racing, and the North Wilkesboro Speedway was the first NASCAR-sanctioned track. North Wilkesboro's major industries include furniture, mirror, and textile production. Due to the town's proximity to the nearby Blue Ridge Mountains and the numerous tourist venues there, North Wilkesboro has been nicknamed the "Key to the Blue Ridge."



North Wilkesboro was founded in 1891 when the Norfolk and Southern Railroad built a railroad line into Wilkes County. The line ended on the northern bank of the Yadkin River opposite Wilkesboro, the county seat. The town of North Wilkesboro quickly developed around the railroad tracks. North Wilkesboro was the home of the Carolina Mirror Company, which for many years was the largest mirror factory in the United States. Although this is no longer the case, the town remains a major producer of mirrors through Gardner Glass Products Inc. Lowe's Foods, one of the Southeast's largest supermarket chains, was started in North Wilkesboro in 1954. Lowe's Home Improvement Warehouse, the nation's second-largest chain of home-improvement stores, was started in North Wilkesboro in 1946. The town does continue to host large corporate offices including Gardner Glass Products Inc., Window World, and ECMD. In addition, two local businessmen recently won prestigious awards for entrepreneurship. Julius "Jay" Howell was recognized as the Small Business Administration's 2010 N.C. Minority Small Business Champion of the Year[3]. Jason Carlton, founder of the GoNC Network, which includes,, and, has been recognized by Business Leader Magazine as one of the “Top 50 Entrepreneurs” in North Carolina for his significant business innovation, leadership, industry and community involvement.

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