For the Record - Shenandoah Valley, February 2012

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American Woodmark Corp., a Winchester-based manufacturer of kitchen and bathroom cabinets, closed two of its 11 plants and also froze its defined benefit pension plans, shifting instead to higher company contributions to 401(k) accounts. The company cited the depressed housing market for the moves. Plants in West Virginia and Kentucky will be closed, and an Oklahoma plant, shuttered in 2009, will be sold. (Washington Business Journal)

Atlantic Research Group, a Staunton biotech company, announced plans to move to Charlottesville to take advantage of the growing research and biotech communities near the University of Virginia. Relocating there is expected to help ARG meet changing needs in personnel. (News Leader)

A group of senior Bridgewater College students in an entrepreneurship course will form partnerships with five local small businesses or nonprofits during the spring semester to assist with market studies, research and strategy development. (Daily News Record)

Direct Title Solutions, a provider of real estate title and settlement services based in Winchester, ranked 1,202nd on Inc. magazine’s list of the 5,000 fastest growing companies in the U.S. Direct Title was formed in 2001 and does $2.2 million in business annually. (Winchester Star)

NTelos Wireless, a Waynesboro telecommunications company, has partnered with Cell Phones for Soldiers, a Massachusetts nonprofit, to recycle used cell phones to fund calling cards for military personnel stationed overseas. (Daily News Record)

Rubbermaid Commercial Products will invest $67.2 million in an expansion of its Winchester operations. The work will include a retrofit of the former General Electric plant, closed in 2010, into a distribution center. The project will create 71 jobs. (Winchester Star)

Shenandoah University is studying the feasibility of establishing a medical school. Valley Health, based in Winchester, and Inova Health System, based in Falls Church, will fund the study, which will be performed by PricewaterhouseCoopers LLP. (Winchester Star)

Sunshine Pride Dairy ceased manufacture of cheese products at its Winchester plant. Those operations will be moved to the New York headquarters of parent company Quesos La Ricura Ltd. The plant opened in 2010, but demand for the company brand did not meet expectations and operation of two plants was deemed unnecessary. (Winchester Star)
The Virginia Tourism Corp. provided $50,000 grants to the Shenandoah Valley Travel Association for a new marketing campaign highlighting outdoor recreation and the Luray-Page County Chamber of Commerce for a website upgrade and marketing effort in Northern Virginia. (Daily News Record)

Waynesboro Downtown Development Inc. received a grant from the Virginia Main Street program to identify derelict buildings and develop plans for new uses. Of particular interest is a former ice plant building, vacant for over 40 years. The owner of the property, Wassenaar Design Group, of Charlottesville, has an interest in converting the property into a mix of residential and commercial uses. (News Virginian)

Winchester Regional Airport reopened after completion of an overhaul of its runways, bringing it up to FAA codes for the support of larger aircraft. About 4,500 feet of the available 5,500 feet of runway was dug up to ground level and new asphalt laid down, a process that hadn’t been undertaken since the first paving of the facility in the 1960s. About 95 percent of the $8.3 million effort was federally funded. (Winchester Star)

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