Virginia Produce Company, a family-owned agricultural produce wholesaler, plans to more than quadruple the size of its operating facility and create 75 full-time equivalent positions in Hillsville, Virginia.
The firm sorts, processes, packages, and distributes a variety of Virginia grown produce including tomatoes, pumpkins, sweet corn, squash, and broccoli from its 30,000 square foot facility in the Carroll County Industrial Park. Its expansion project includes VPC purchasing a 138,000 square foot facility in the industrial park and making the necessary upgrades, including; installation of larger coolers and more production lines, increasing capacity for current products and allowing expansion into new produce markets.
The President of Virginia Produce Company, Moir Beamer, said "We are excited about this opportunity to expand our business operations in Carroll County and provide our customers with a larger selection of Virginia grown produce. With this program, we are working with people with disabilities and providing consumers with more options."
According to Gov. Bob McDonnell’s Office, during the three-year project, VPC will invest more than $2.54 million in capital improvements and purchase an additional $12 million of Virginia grown produce from Virginia farms.
A unique aspect of this project will be the employment of 75 packing line workers, accounting for 50 FTEs, from the Mount Rogers Industrial and Developmental Center. The center is a division of the Mount Rogers Community Service Board that trains and employs disabled Virginians. In addition to the 75 IDC workers, VPC will also employ 25 full-time positions, the Governor’s Office said.
Gov. McDonnell said, "Virginia Produce Company symbolizes so much of what defines Virginia agriculture, the Commonwealth's largest industry. It is a family-owned business established on the idea that bringing the grower and wholesaler closer together benefits everyone involved, including the consumer. Incorporating the Nature's Hope project into this expansion further defines what Virginia Produce is all about. This partnership with Mount Rogers IDC provides a great opportunity for local residents with disabilities to be part of a productive work setting while earning a paycheck."
Frank Dowell, Director of Mount Rogers IDC said "We are grateful for the opportunity to partner with Virginia Produce Company in the packaging of locally-grown produce under the "Nature's Hope" label. Through the vision shown by company President Moir Beamer and his team, we will be able to provide more employment opportunities for individuals with disabilities in our region. We would like to express our enthusiasm in eager anticipation of Virginia Produce's expansion and further collaboration with our agency."
The Virginia Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services worked with Carroll County to help make the project a reality. Governor McDonnell approved a $200,000 matching grant from the Governor's AFID Fund to assist Carroll with the project. The project is receiving additional assistance through the Tobacco Commission's Tobacco Region Opportunity Fund, the State's Enterprise Zone Program and through its Virginia Jobs Investment Program.