Voting opens for Coolest Thing Made in NC contest; 2 Carteret businesses in running

RALEIGH — Two Carteret County based businesses are in the running to be named the Coolest Thing Made in N.C., with voting open now for the second annual competition.

The statewide contest is hosted by the N.C. Chamber, and the public can nominate and vote for their favorite product manufactured in the state.

There are 68 nominees in the running for the title of 2021’s Coolest Thing Made in N.C., including two companies based in Carteret County, Jarrett Bay Boats of Beaufort and Shibumi Shade of Emerald Isle.

“Congratulations to our 2021 nominees; each product tells a special story of the impact and innovation manufacturers have on our great state,” N.C. Chamber President and CEO Gary Salamido said in a release announcing the 2021 contest. “As we always say at the NC Chamber: what’s made in North Carolina makes North Carolina.”

The first round of voting is open until Thursday, Sept. 2, when 15 semifinalists will be announced. The top five candidates will be revealed Friday, Sept. 17. The field of candidates will narrow with each round of voting, and the winning product will be announced Friday, Oct. 1, National Manufacturing Day.

To vote, visit and enter a valid email address along with the product you’d like to see named the Coolest Thing Made in N.C. Votes accompanied with invalid email addresses won’t be counted. Voters may cast a vote once per day, with the products receiving the highest number of votes proceeding to subsequent rounds. Votes are reset at the beginning of each round.

According to the N.C. Chamber, the state’s manufacturing industry generates more than 17% of the gross state product and employs more than 10% of the state’s workforce.

The chamber launched the Coolest Thing Made in N.C. contest in 2020 as a celebration of the manufacturing community. Last year, after 72 products nominated and 58,000 votes counted, High Point-based Thomas Built Buses won the inaugural title for its Saf-T-Liner C2 Jouley electric school bus.

“Manufacturing is an important part of our state economy, so we enjoy celebrating the products made right here in our back yard,” said Greg Plemmons, senior vice president of sales for Old Dominion Freight Line, which has partnered with the N.C. Chamber to present the 2021 contest. “The businesses nominated for the ‘Coolest Thing’ competition represent the best of North Carolina, and Old Dominion is proud to partner with the NC Chamber for this unique contest.”

In addition to receiving a trophy, the winning company and product will be featured in N.C. Chamber and Business North Carolina publications, podcasts and social and digital media, among additional statewide publicity efforts.

For more information, including how to vote and a full list of the nominees, visit

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