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 reports Augusta Free Press.
These projects will create 100 new jobs, save 80 existing jobs, and increase purchases of Virginia-grown forest products.
“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,” Gov. Ralph Northam said. “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.”
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.
This will allow Woodgrain to source 90 percent 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, a family-owned business based in Idaho, is one of the largest millwork companies in the world. They produce and distribute high-quality 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 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 percent.
“New and expanding markets for Virginia forest products are vital to the sustainable management of the Commonwealth’s 16 million acres of forestland,” said Secretary of Agriculture and Forestry Bettina Ring. “These major expansions by Woodgrain will not only retain and create new high-paying jobs in Southwest Virginia, but also expand important market opportunities for our landowners, leading to a healthier forest resource.”
“For nearly thirty years, Woodgrain has been a valued contributor to the Commonwealth’s forest products industry,” said Secretary of Commerce and Trade Brian Ball. “The company’s additional investment in Southwest Virginia reflects the strength of Virginia’s workforce and favorable business environment, two of the many reasons why the Commonwealth was just named America’s Top State for Business by CNBC. We look forward to continuing our strong partnership with Woodgrain.”
“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.”
“We are very pleased to see this sawmill continue to grow and thrive in Grayson County,” said Grayson County Administrator William L. Shepley. “We look forward to working with Woodgrain and to the growth of employment opportunities for our citizens.”
“Independence Lumber has been a good partner with Grayson County for many years,” said Grayson County Board of Supervisors Chair Kenneth R. Belton. “And we welcome Woodgrain for many years to come.”
“Woodgrain’s continued investment at their Atkins facility shows how much they believe in their employees and our community as a whole,” said Smyth County Administrator Shawn Utt. “We want the company to know how much we believe in them, as well, and appreciate those investments. They have long served our County as a prime employer, and we look forward to many more years of progress and growth.”
“The Board of Supervisors are thrilled Woodgrain continues to show faith in Smyth County,” said Smyth County Board of Supervisors Chair Charles Atkins. “With Woodgrain’s expansion bringing 80 new jobs to our area, it will continue to support our citizens and grow our County. We look forward to continuing to work with such a strong employer in our community and wish them a long future of success.”
“Virginia’s Industrial Advancement Alliance is extremely excited to help finalize both expansions of Woodgrain Millwork in Grayson and Smyth Counties,” said Virginia’s Industrial Advancement Alliance Executive Director Josh Lewis. “These expansions will strengthen the supply chain in the region. Congratulations to Grayson County, Smyth County, VIAA Business Retention and Expansion staff, Virginia Economic Development Partnership project managers, Virginia Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services, and the Tobacco Commission for helping deliver another big win for the region.”
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.
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.
“This is an exciting day for Southwest Virginia,” said Tobacco Commission member Sandy Ratliff. “Woodgrain is an industry leader, and I am pleased that the Tobacco Commission was able to support their expansion in Smyth County that will bring new jobs and millions of dollars of investment to our region. I wish Woodgrain the best as they get their project underway, and I know they will continue to find success here in Southwest Virginia for many years to come.”
“Southwest Virginia is a great place to live, work, and raise a family because of companies like Woodgrain,” said State Sen. Todd Pillion. “This investment demonstrates a special commitment to the region that will add value to Virginia’s forestry industry while saving existing jobs and creating new opportunities. The local economy and entire community will benefit from this exciting expansion.”
“This investment by Woodgrain in Grayson County will have a tremendous impact on the County and all of Southwest Virginia,” said Del. Israel O’Quinn. “Independence Lumber has been a wonderful business partner in our area, and this purchase by Woodgrain will ensure that it provides more great jobs and economic benefit for our region.”
“I am pleased to take part in the announcement of Woodgrain’s second expansion in five years here in Smyth County,” said Del. Jeffrey Campbell. “Woodgrain has been an integral part of this community for many years, and is poised to continue to grow and prosper. The addition of 80 new jobs with this investment is welcomed as our economy continues to recover from the effects of the pandemic and I am truly thankful for the men and women who have worked very hard, every day, at Woodgrain to make this into reality.”