Mill books hot at Expo

Published 10:34 am Friday, November 19, 2010

Pam Lease, left, purchases a book about the Franklin paper mill from Melissa Rose, office manager with Franklin-Southampton Area Chamber of Commerce, during the Community Business Expo on Thursday. -- Gwen Albers | Tidewater News

FRANKLIN—Pam Lease made a purchase for her family on Thursday.

For $10, the Franklin woman bought the recently released book, “The Mill: The Franklin Mill from Camp to International Paper.”

“The mill’s been such a legacy, and I want to be able to tell my grandchildren about it,” said Lease, a former Union Camp employee who is now director of real estate services at Bronco Federal Credit Union.

The 281-page hardback about the Franklin mill, which closed earlier this year, went on sale for the first time during the Franklin-Southampton Area Chamber of Commerce Community Business Expo at Paul D. Camp Community College. Printed on 80-pound smooth offset paper from the Franklin mill’s No. 5 machine, the book was a big draw for the annual event held at the Regional Workforce Development Center.

“I think the people have so much interest in the book and it’s bringing them here,” said Chamber President Dan Hoctor. “It was a great thing to have at the expo this year.”

When the expo’s doors opened at 3 p.m., there were about 30 people in line for the book, said Chamber Executive Director Teresa Beale. In the first 20 minutes, more than 200 of the 500 available were sold.

“It’s been awesome,” Beale said. “Everybody was lined up to get here. There’s been a lot of excitement.”

International Paper hired former Virginian-Pilot photographer John H. Sheally II and reporter Phyllis E. Speidell to put the book together. Both were available at the expo for autographs.

Former paper mill employees and retirees were given books last week. International Paper gave the Chamber the rest of the books, which are being sold as a fundraiser.

Leslie Williams of Courtland stood in line for about 20 minutes with a box of 10 books for autographs. Williams was picking up the books for friend Nancy Brock, assistant gift shop manager at The Peanut Patch in Courtland.

“I want three for myself for my husband and two kids for Christmas, and another friend wanted five,” Brock said.

Neil Clark, an agent with Virginia Cooperative Extension, purchased four books. One is for his father-in-law, Jesse Harcum of Holland, who worked at the mill for more than 30 years.

“I do forestry education for a lot of people who I know this would make a good gift for,” Clark said.

The book features mostly color photos and interviews with various people who worked at the mill. There also are some photographs of the town.