Here’s the tea: Traditional Medicinals to invest $29.7M in Franklin County
Globally sourced and distributed tea company will expand East Coast operations.
Rohnert Park, California-based wellness tea company Traditional Medicinals Inc. will invest $29.7 million to establish its East Coast operation, an herbal tea manufacturing and processing plant, in Franklin County’s Summit View Business Park, creating 56 jobs, Gov. Ralph Northam announced Tuesday.
The company will build a 125,000-square-foot facility for production of its organic and herbal teas. The company was founded in 1974 and has since produced more than 50 herbalist-formulated tea types, which can be purchased at Kroger grocery stores and 70,000 other retail locations globally.
Economic impact modeling (IMPLAN) by the Roanoke Regional Partnership indicates this project could have an overall annual economic impact of more than $62 million and create approximately 181 secondary jobs. A spokesman for Franklin County said the company has not yet laid out a timeline for the facility to be fully operational and is currently focused on its design.
“Traditional Medicinals is committed to strengthening rural communities and being good for the planet, and I welcome them to our commonwealth,” Northam said in a statement. “[Its] decision to locate its East Coast operation in Virginia is a strong reflection of our business-friendly environment, our infrastructure, and our work to support emerging food and beverage processing markets.”
The Virginia Economic Development Partnership (VEDP) worked with Franklin County and the Roanoke Regional Partnership to secure the project. The Virginia Tobacco Region Revitalization Commission — which promotes economic growth in formerly tobacco-dependent communities — granted $245,000 for the project, and Northam approved a $350,000 grant from the Commonwealth’s Opportunity Fund (COF). The COF is “deal-closing” and is used to secure a company location or expansion in the state. It’s considered the final resource to be used when in competition with other states for a project, according to the Virginia Economic Development Partnership.
“We’ve worked for decades to ensure that the work we do positively impacts both the environment and the people in the communities where we do business — both on a local level and in the 42 countries where we purchase herbs,” Traditional Medicinals CEO Blair Kellison said in a statement. “We are proud to become a part of Franklin County and the greater Roanoke community and look forward to making a positive social business impact here.”
The new VEDP workforce initiative Virginia Talent Accelerator Program will provide support for the company’s job creation, which works with the Virginia Community College System. The accelerator program receives funding from the Northam administration and General Assembly to provide recruitment and training services for new facility start-ups. Services are provided at no cost to the receiving company.
The company is also eligible to receive benefits from the Port of Virginia Economic and Infrastructure Development Zone Grant Program. The grant program administered by the Virginia Port Authority incentivizes companies to locate maritime-related employment centers or expand existing centers.
“Traditional Medicinals’ significant investment is the largest in Franklin County’s Summit View Business Park,” Secretary of Commerce and Trade Brian Ball said in a statement. “This industry-leading company’s decision to locate its East Coast operation in Franklin County gives Traditional Medicinals direct access to the Port of Virginia, enabling the company to import international herbs and export its final products overseas.”
The first phase of Summit View’s construction is complete, and Traditional Medicinals will join ValleyStar Credit Union and Stik-Pak Solutions Inc. in the business park.