Blue Ridge Lumber will create seventeen new jobs and invest nearly $2.7 million at the company’s lumber yard in Essex County.
The company is adding new dry kiln capacity to increase hardwood exports and has committed to purchase more than $5.2 million of Virginia-grown logs and lumber over the next three years. Blue Ridge Lumber has been selling Appalachian hardwoods since 1981, operating six facilities throughout Virginia and exporting products around the world.
“Blue Ridge Lumber’s continued growth and investment in Essex County is great indicator of the strength of Virginia’s forestry industry,” said Governor McAuliffe. “Investments like these create jobs and open new markets for Virginia’s forestland owners and their success reflects the strong relationship growers and producers have with manufacturers and businesses across the Commonwealth. Today’s announcement is a great win for forestry in the Commonwealth as we continue with our ongoing efforts to build a new Virginia economy.”
“Through its commitment to sourcing logs and lumber from Virginia, Blue Ridge Lumber is further supporting Virginia’s loggers and forestland owners,” said Secretary of Agriculture and Forestry Basil Gooden. “Virginia’s forestry industry contributes a $21 billion annual economic impact, and I am pleased the Commonwealth could partner with Essex County through the AFID Program to support this local business in a flourishing industry.”
“The mission of Blue Ridge Lumber is to manufacture and sell quality hardwoods, offering honest value to a global market,” said Blue Ridge Lumber President Thomas Sheets. “This new expansion enables us to expand upon this mission.”
“On behalf of the Essex County Board of Supervisors, we are all excited to see this grant award by the Commonwealth, coupled with the investment of private money by a local company,” said Timothy Wilson, Essex County Administrator. “This expansion of Blue Ridge Lumber will help maintain the viability and add to the value of forestry as a continuing and vibrant segment of our local, regional, and state economy.”
“Essex County has a long tradition of supporting agriculture and forestry, which are our largest industries,” said Bill Croxton, Chairman of the Essex County Economic Development Authority. “The expansion of Blue Ridge Lumber into our area, the investment and the new jobs it brings are very exciting and welcome.”
The Virginia Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services worked with Essex County and Blue Ridge Lumber Co., LLC to secure this project for Virginia. Governor McAuliffe approved a $50,000 grant from the Governor’s Agriculture and Forestry Industries Development (AFID) Fund, which Essex County will match with local funds.