FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
December 29, 1997



Jill Lawrence
VEDP
(804) 371-0049
Ferguson Enterprises to Locate $22 Million Distribution Center in Front Royal
-- Plumbing Supply Distributor to Create 125 Jobs in the Shenandoah Valley --


Warren County - Governor George Allen today joined company and local officials in a ceremony to announce a $22 million investment to construct a new distribution center for Ferguson Enterprises in Warren County, which will create 100 new jobs by the end of 1998 and another 25 by the end of 1999, for a total of 125 new jobs. Ferguson Enterprises, a subsidiary of British-based Wolseley PLC, has its North American Headquarters located in Newport News, and this expansion in Virginia will result in the construction of a new 460,000-square-foot building in the Stephens Industrial Park. Virginia successfully competed with Maryland, Pennsylvania and West Virginia for the investment.

"It is an invigorating, perfect fit to recruit Ferguson Enterprises to this Enterprise Zone that I designated just two years ago. Ferguson's investment is a strong vote of confidence in Virginia's pro-growth business environment," said Governor Allen. "Ferguson Enterprises' dynamic and energetic growth has garnered it a reputation as a competitive industry leader and as a great corporate citizen. Ferguson is a valued shareholder in Virginia's future, and the people of Warren County and all Virginians look forward to being partners in Ferguson's continued success in the New Year and beyond."

Ferguson Enterprises Inc., was founded in the early 1950's to service small plumbing contractors. The company has doubled in size every five years since its formation. A recent survey in Supply House Times listed Ferguson as the country's largest plumbing supply distributor, the third largest distributor of pipes, valves and fittings and the fifth largest distributor of HVAC equipment and supplies. The company operates 281 stocking locations in 35 States and Puerto Rico.

The new facility will be a mechanized state-of-the-art replenishment system that is expected to create efficiencies and economies of scale in the way the company delivers product to its customers. "We're very excited about this effort because the development of this distribution center will have a tremendous impact on the way we do business in the future," announced Ferguson President and CEO Charles A. Banks. "We chose Front Royal because it offers a quality workforce and has close proximity to the interstate highway system and major metropolitan areas. We also feel very positive about the business environment in Virginia, and we look forward to expanding our participation with this project."

Governor Allen approved a $225,000 grant from the Governor's Opportunity Fund to assist Warren County and the Town of Front Royal with site preparation. Governor Allen also committed Industrial Rail and Road access funds to this project to be matched with a local effort. The Governor also presented a Virginia flag and an historic share of stock in the Virginia Company to Charles Banks as a token of the Commonwealth's appreciation for their major investment in Virginia. The Stephens Industrial Park is located in an Enterprise Zone, which Governor Allen created in 1995 when he doubled the number of Enterprise Zones from 25 to 50. The Virginia Economic Development Partnership and the Front Royal-Warren County Economic Development Authority assisted the company with its decision.



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