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October 12, 2009 - Martinsville, Virginia - Nationwide Custom Homes, a division of national systems-built manufacturer Palm Harbor Homes, is continuing its 50th anniversary celebration with a special event on Friday, October 16, to recognize its present and past employees. 

In April, Nationwide kicked off the anniversary with five days of builder, vendor and customer events centered on its residential, multi-family and commercial designs.  The company, founded in 1959 and headquartered in Martinsville, has more than 325 authorized builders in 16 Mid-Atlantic, Southern and Gulf Region states.  The company has 280 employees and production facilities in Arabi, GA, and Martinsville.

The company's celebration, themed "50 Good as Gold Years" launched Nationwide's anniversary home model, the Tradition, offered homebuyer tours of the model and the manufacturing facility and held a home set demonstration to highlight the strength and quality of its homes.  Homebuyers and other attendees also could visit the company's state-of-the-art Design Center to learn from the designer.  Four current builders were inducted into Nationwide's Hall of Fame for their continued outstanding contribution to Nationwide and the systems-built industry.

The October employee celebration will start with a luncheon and distribution of special 50th anniversary logo shirts, door prizes and a film that compiles photos from the archives of the last 50 years in business.  Special recognition will be given to employees who have reached milestones of 20, 30 and 35 years of service.  Fifteen percent of Nationwide's employees have been with the company 20 years or more and six percent have been with the company 30 or more years.  Two inductions will be made into Nationwide's Hall of Fame: Ralph C. Lester, founder of the company, and Fredric J. Betz, president from 1987 through 1998.  Both individuals contributed to the success of the company, both during their tenure and through the legacy they left behind.

The celebration is particularly exciting given the increase in business from the first celebration in April to the one in October and during a year in which a struggling economy brought challenges to many companies.

"Our production is up 50 percent since the first event and we are very encouraged going into the end of this year," said Nationwide's President Andy Miller. "We have signed and delivered homes to 25 new builders this year and have a lot to be thankful for.  The success of the last 50 years has been built on our people, our customers, our product and our service.  Our employees make all the difference - they are the key to the company's past, present and future success."

Nationwide looks to 2010 and expects its customers to demand value-added homes at a very competitive price, as well as smaller homes in the 2,000 square-foot range.  The company also expects homebuyers to seek extremely energy-efficient homes.  Nationwide was certified as the first Systems Built Green Manufacturer recognized by the National Association of Homebuilders in March of this year. The company will continue to survey customers to know how the business is doing and where improvements can be made.  A regularly scheduled advisory council meeting and weekly meetings with associates are two additional ways that Nationwide works to keep employees informed and customer satisfaction at a high level.

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