Virginia Governor Ralph Northam has announced that Woodgrain Inc., a manufacturer of wood moulding and trim, will invest nearly $9 million to expand its operations in Smyth County and invest more than $8 million to purchase and expand the former Independence Lumber sawmill in Grayson County. These projects will create 100 new jobs, save 80 existing jobs, and increase purchases of Virginia-grown forest products. The investments in Virginia is one of several recent business moves in the East Coast market for Woodgrain, which made the news with an expansion in Georgia and an acquisition in Tennessee earlier this summer.

“Forestry is the Commonwealth’s third-largest private industry, supporting more than 107,000 jobs in our rural communities and providing an economic impact of $21 billion annually,” said Governor Northam. “Woodgrain continues to bring welcomed employment opportunities and capital investment to Southwest Virginia, supporting my administration’s goal to bring economic vitality to all corners of the Commonwealth. I’m thankful to Woodgrain for their commitment to Virginia forest products and look forward to continued partnership in the future.”

A press release from the governor’s office indicates the expectation that these two projects will lead to the creation of 100 new jobs in the region and will save 80 jobs at Independence Lumber, which is Grayson County’s largest private employer. When the sawmill upgrades in Grayson County are complete, it will become the primary supplier for the company’s Smyth County operation, allowing the company to source 90% of its new forest products needs from the Commonwealth, leading to the purchase of an additional nine million board feet of Virginia-grown forest products over the next three years.

Woodgrain is a family-owned business based in Idaho that produces and distributes lumber, mouldings, doors, and windows at 27 facilities employing more than 3,500 individuals nationwide. In addition to millwork manufacturing, Woodgrain owns and manages forestlands and several sawmills in the Pacific Northwest. The dimensional sawmill in Grayson County will be the company’s first sawmill on the East Coast. Woodgrain says it plans to retain the sawmill’s existing employees and create 20 new jobs at the facility. In Smyth County, Woodgrain will improve its existing manufacturing facility and expand into another building, creating 80 new jobs and increasing that facility’s purchases of Virginia-grown forest products by nearly 20%, according to the governor’s press release.

“We are excited about expanding our operations and furthering our commitment to Southwest Virginia,” said Woodgrain Eastern Region Millwork Manager Robb Hitch. “We believe this will have a significant, positive impact on the local economy and allow us to further leverage our vertical integration by supplying lumber to our millwork location in Smyth County and throughout the Southwest. It’s a win-win situation that will allow us to continue to provide best-in-class service and product.”

The Virginia Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services, Virginia Economic Development Partnership, and Virginia’s Industrial Advancement Alliance worked with Grayson and Smyth Counties to secure the project for the Commonwealth. Governor Northam approved $350,000 in awards from the Governor’s Agriculture and Forestry Industries Development program to secure these projects for the Commonwealth. Funding and services to support the company’s employee training activities will be provided through the Virginia Economic Development Partnership’s Virginia Jobs Investment Program.

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