Woodgrain Inc. will invest $9 million to expand its operations in Smyth County and invest $8 million more to purchase and expand the former Independence Lumber sawmill in Grayson County, producing 100 jobs, Gov. Ralph Northam announced Friday.
The family-owned business based in Idaho is one of the largest millwork companies in the world, manufacturing wood moulding and trim. Woodgrain has 27 facilities and more than 3,500 workers.
The two projects will save 80 jobs and increase purchases of Virginia-grown forest products, the governor’s office said in a news release.
Independence Lumber is Grayson County’s largest private employer, and when the sawmill upgrades are complete, it will become the primary supplier for Woodgrain’s Smyth County operation. It will also allow Woodgrain to source 90% of its new forest product needs from Virginia, leading to the purchase of an additional 9 million board feet of Virginia-grown forest products over the next three years.
“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,” Northam said in a statement. “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.”
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 jobs and increasing that facility’s purchases of Virginia-grown forest products by nearly 20%.
The Virginia Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services, the Virginia Economic Development Partnership, and Virginia’s Industrial Advancement Alliance worked with Grayson and Smyth Counties to secure the project for the state. Northam approved $350,000 in awards from the Governor’s Agriculture and Forestry Industries Development program, and funding and services to support the company’s employee training activities will be provided through the VEDP’s Virginia Jobs Investment Program.