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Gov. Roy Cooper asks Seagrove potter to make vase for Toyota President

The gift come as a 'Thank-You' for the Toyota Mega-site

SEAGROVE, N.C. — A potter in Seagrove is feeling grateful after Governor Roy Cooper asked him to make a gift for Toyota's President in Japan. 

"It's really been a blessing to continue in the family tradition but also in the tradition of the Seagrove community," Ben Owen said.

Owen's family has been making pottery in Seagrove for hundreds of years. His grandfather Ben Owen Sr. taught him the craft. 

"We'd make a lot of door stoppers and anchor weights just things that really wasn't much to be acknowledged but overtime I've been able to work and refine my skills," Owen said. 

His work caught the attention of some very prominent people across the world and right here in North Carolina. 

"Making some of these gifts began back in the mid 1990s when I first made some pieces for Governor Hunt at the time and he used those as special gifts for recruiting companies that would potentially want to come to North Carolina and establish their business here," Owen said. 

So when he got the call from Governor Cooper about the gift to Toyota he was honored. After all, Toyota is coming in right down the road from him at the Greensboro Randolph Site, possibly bringing at least 5,000 jobs. 

"It's just really wonderful we can recognize a company that's coming in will offer so many wonderful jobs and the potential for this region what it can do in economic impact," Owen said. 

Owen says the vibrant red color of the vase was a color created by his grandfather, it was inspired by Asian culture. 

"So we felt like it would be appropriate as a way of thanking them for their inspiration in my work and our family's work being inspired by Asian culture that we would be able to give something back for what they're doing here in our state," Owen said. 

Owen says he's grateful to continue the success of his family's business and he's glad that a piece of that legacy can be shared with others. 

"For someone to take a piece of our work back to their culture we hope someday maybe someone from that area will come and visit here and get a taste of what we have here in North Carolina," Owen said. 

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