FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
April 15, 2004

Ellen Qualls
www.governor.virginia.gov
(804) 786-2211, x2379


Bill King
Blue Ridge Wood Products, Inc.
(276) 322-3317
Jill Vaughan
VEDP
(804) 371-0049
WOOD PRODUCTS COMPANY TO LOCATE IN TAZEWELL COUNTY
-Governor Warner announces Blue Ridge Wood Products to create 160 new jobs-


RICHMOND - Governor Mark R. Warner today announced that Blue Ridge Wood Products, Inc. will open a manufacturing operation in Tazewell County. The project will create 160 new jobs within 30 months. Through a $3.6-million investment, Blue Ridge Wood Products will locate in the former Woodtech manufacturing facility located at 1806 Falls Mills Road in the Town of Bluefield. Virginia successfully competed with West Virginia for the project.

Virginia Secretary of Commerce & Trade Michael J. Schewel made the announcement at an event this morning. The project is Tazewell County’s third largest economic development announcement, in terms of new jobs, in more than 20 years.

“Virginia’s wood products industry serves as a foundation for Virginia’s economic prosperity,” said Governor Warner. “I am pleased to welcome Blue Ridge Wood Products to the Commonwealth. This operation will bring much-needed jobs and economic diversification to Tazewell County and Southwest Virginia.”

Blue Ridge Wood Products, Inc. is a locally owned, start-up company established to manufacture laminated veneer lumber and hardwood plywood. The company will market its lumber nationally to cabinet manufactures and architectural molding producers. The hardwood plywood product will be marketed to the upholstered furniture industry.

“Opportunities existed for this venture to occur either in Virginia or by relocating the equipment to West Virginia. However, the support and assistance from Tazewell County, the Commonwealth of Virginia and other economic development agencies was tremendous,” said Bill King, President of Blue Ridge Wood Products. “The economic development assets and tools available to assist business growth in Virginia are exceptional. The availability of a capable workforce and the proximity to an abundant supply of our primary raw material – yellow poplar – were additional incentives for locating this facility in Tazewell County.”

The Virginia Economic Development Partnership worked closely with Blue Ridge Wood Products and Tazewell County to provide state resources and negotiate the Commonwealth’s incentive package. The Virginia Coalfield Economic Development Authority joined Tazewell County to close the deal. U.S. Congressman Rick Boucher also assisted the company with its decision. Governor Warner approved a $150,000 grant from the Governor’s Opportunity Fund to support Tazewell County with the project. The county also obtained $250,000 in Tobacco Region Opportunity Funds from the Virginia Tobacco Indemnification and Community Revitalization Commission. Blue Ridge Wood Products will take advantage of the Virginia Department of Business Assistance’s Workforce Services Program.

“In an era when manufacturing jobs are going overseas, we are thankful to be able to provide manufacturing opportunities to citizens of Tazewell County and the surrounding area,” said Earl Griffith, Chairman, Tazewell County Board of Supervisors. “On behalf of the Tazewell County Board of Supervisors, it is a great pleasure to welcome Blue Ridge Wood Products to our business community. The challenges of this project have been many; however, through the tenacity of Bill King, and with the support provided by the federal, state, regional and local governmental agencies, Tazewell County will realize 160 new jobs in the next three years. This is truly a great day for Tazewell County.”

VIRGINIA ECONOMIC DEVELOPMENT PARTNERSHIP

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