SMITHFIELD — A portion of I-95 in Johnston County has been renamed in honor of an influential businessman who is credited with leading to the development of the Smithfield outlet stores.
N.C. Department of Transportation officials on Friday declared the road between Exit 95 in Smithfield and Exit 97 in Selma to be the Dick Fleming Freeway, in honor of the founder of the Carolina Pottery Store in 1983. The store led to the development of Carolina Potter Outlet Center in 1989, now known as Carolina Premium Outlets.
The Greater Smithfield-Selma Area Chamber of Commerce, Johnston County Board of Commissioners, Selma Town Council, Smithfield Town Council and the Fleming family requested the road naming. The DOT approved it in January.
“His vision for what I-95 could do for eastern North Carolina, and specifically for Smithfield, for Selma and for Johnston County, kind of transformed the whole area to a destination for a lot of shoppers,” Chamber President Rick Childrey said.
Most of Fleming’s family lives in Johnston County. Fleming died in 1999 at age 72.