November 13, 2002

Ellen Qualls
(804) 786-2211, x2379

Donald Hoffman, CEO
Creative Playthings
Jill Lawrence
(804) 371-0049
Creative Playthings Reinvests In Emporia
-Governor Warner visits Southwest and Southside for 1,388 job announcements-

EMPORIA - Governor Mark R. Warner today announced that Creative Playthings, a manufacturer of residential wooden swing sets, will expand its operations in the City of Emporia. The company will invest $2.7 million in a 100,000-square-foot expansion, saving 160 existing jobs and creating 30 new jobs. Virginia successfully competed with North Carolina, Pennsylvania and Massachusetts for the project. Governor Warner and made the announcement today at the Emporia-Greensville Industrial Development Corporation’s Existing Industry & Business Celebration. Virginia Secretary of Commerce & Trade Michael J. Schewel was also in attendance.

Over a 24 hour period, Governor Warner will make six economic development announcements across Southside and Southwest Virginia, totaling 1208 new jobs, 180 saved jobs, and more than $50 million in private investment. Including today’s announcements, Governor Warner has announced more than 3,750 new jobs and nearly $290 million in investment in Southside and Southwest since taking office in January. Statewide, Governor Warner has announced more than 22,000 new jobs and $2.32 billion in investment.

“Creative Playthings has operated in the Emporia Industrial Park since 1988,” said Governor Warner. “The company has benefited from the dedicated workforce in this region. I am pleased the Commonwealth could provide assistance to this valuable corporate citizen.”

Headquartered in Framingham, Massachusetts, Creative Playthings is a leading manufacturer of high-quality wooden playsets and backyard gyms. The company’s distributes its products through national chains, independent retailers, company owned retail stores and franchises throughout the United States.

In 1988, Creative Playthings first opened a wood processing plant in the Emporia Industrial Park, which served as a “feeder” plant to its main manufacturing operation in central Pennsylvania. Over the next several years, the Emporia operation expanded its functions. In an attempt to remain competitive, the company explored the possibility of combining all manufacturing in one location. Through the cooperative efforts of the Commonwealth of Virginia, the City of Emporia and the Emporia-Greensville Industrial Development Corporation, Creative Playthings reached a decision to consolidate all of the manufacturing in Emporia.

“On behalf of the entire Creative Playthings family of employees, I want to thank Governor Warner, the City of Emporia and the Industrial Development Corporation for their assistance and support in the our decision to consolidate our entire manufacturing base in the Commonwealth of Virginia,” said Donald Hoffman, CEO and Founder of Creative Playthings. “The attitude of the public sector toward the private sector makes thing happen for the people of Virginia.”

Governor Warner approved a $60,000 grant from the Governor’s Opportunity Fund to assist the City of Emporia with the project. The city also obtained $60,000 in Tobacco Region Opportunity Funds. The Virginia Economic Development Partnership, the City of Emporia, the Emporia Industrial Development Authority and the Emporia-Greensville Industrial Development Corporation assisted Creative Playthings with its decision. The Virginia Department of Business Assistance will provide workforce training services.


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