Lumber company to invest $11M in Caroline County
Ashton Lewis' purchase of W.T. Jones & Sons Inc. saves 44 jobs
Gatesville, North Carolina-based lumber company Ashton Lewis Lumber Co. will invest $11 million to establish a specialty Southern yellow pine sawmill in Ruther Glen (part of Caroline County), Gov. Ralph Northam announced Friday. The company has also committed to sourcing 90% of its pine lumber purchases from Virginia forestland owners as part of the investment.
Ashton Lewis recently acquired Caroline County-based pine sawmill W.T. Jones & Sons Inc., which was established in 1970. The purchase saved 44 jobs, according to a statement from Northam’s office.
“I’m thrilled to welcome Ashton Lewis to Virginia, where forestry is our third-largest private industry,” Northam said in a statement. “Ashton Lewis’ commitment to Caroline County will not only preserve quality jobs for hardworking Virginians and bring valuable investment to this rural locality, but will continue to provide markets for our forestland owners.”
The Virginia Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services worked with Caroline County to secure the project for Virginia. Northam approved a $50,000 grant from the Governor’s Agriculture and Forestry Industries Development Fund to help Caroline County, and Ashton Lewis will receive training services through the Virginia Economic Development Partnership’s Virginia Jobs Investment Program.
“We are pleased to see Ashton Lewis taking over the former W.T. Jones & Sons sawmill in Caroline County and thank the company for retaining and creating jobs in rural Virginia,” Secretary of Commerce and Trade Brian Ball said in a statement. “It’s also great to see that the company will be purchasing a majority of its logs from Virginia landowners.”