ROCKY MOUNT — The Rocky Mount Town Council voted Tuesday night to transfer properties to two local businesses looking to grow.

The land transfers concern two existing businesses: Better Built Performance, which currently rents a space on State Street, and Empire Bakery Commissary, located in the industrial park jointly owned by the town and Franklin County.

Both land transfers are part of performance agreements with the companies, which provide incentives in exchange for community investments and job creation. Neither agreement has been finalized yet.

Council voted to transfer up to four acres of what’s known as the Cox property, a roughly 50-acre parcel of land the town purchased more than a decade ago, to Better Built Performance so it can build its own facility on Weaver Street.

Assistant Town Manager Matt Hankins said the town had been trying to lure a large industrial client to the site, but is now changing direction, looking to attract a number of smaller businesses.

“We’ve been chasing the big fish for a while, but we can also make a big impact by helping smaller companies create jobs and then grow into larger companies here,” Hankins said.

Council member Mark Newbill said in this way, the town won’t have to put all its eggs in one business’ basket.

Better Built Performance was started after Arrington Performance shut down its Martinsville operation. The company employs performance part specialists who customize cars.

Better Built Performance not only builds cool cars, Hankins said, but also brings customers from all over the country to Rocky Mount where they spend their time and money.

Hankins said the company is thriving and expects to add employees.

“We want to keep them in Rocky Mount if we can,” he said.

The town council also voted to make a small tweak to the land transfer promised to Empire Bakery.

Last month Empire Bakery, which makes ready-to-sell cookies and cakes, announced it would invest $10.4 million at its Rocky Mount facility, creating 75 new jobs.

Franklin County and Rocky Mount had planned to transfer about 10 acres of land they jointly own to Empire Bakery for the expansion. But the developer indicated three acres of the adjacent Cox property, owned solely by the town, would be useful for docks and truck turnarounds.

Hankins said the company will still receive the same total acreage — approximately seven acres from a neighboring town-county property and another three acres from an adjacent town-owned property.

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Casey Fabris covers business for The Roanoke Times, where she has been a reporter since 2015. Previously, Casey covered Franklin County.

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