Huge news on jobs front

Published 10:09 am Saturday, October 29, 2011

Gov. Bob McDonnell came to town on Friday with some much-needed, more-than-welcome news.

McDonnell announced that Vermont-based Green Mountain Coffee Roasters will open a production and distribution facility at the Shirley T. Holland Intermodal Park in Windsor, creating 800 jobs.

The news is sure to help not just Windsor and Isle of Wight County but all of Western Tidewater, where unemployment averaged 8.5 percent in August and residents continue to rebound from the closing of International Paper Co.’s Franklin mill in June 2010.

Green Mountain will invest $180 million over the initial five years of the facility’s operations. The company will purchase a 330,000-square-foot building on 64 acres in the industrial park to house coffee roasting, grinding, flavoring and packaging of its single-serve portion packs for the Keurig coffeemakers that have become so popular in recent years.

The good news announced Friday didn’t just happen overnight.

Isle of Wight County officials have worked hard and invested millions to provide companies like Green Mountain a place to expand operations. Word is another company is close to signing an agreement for the industrial park and a third is considering a move there.

The Virginia Economic Development Partnership also worked with the county to secure the Green Mountain project. McDonnell approved a $4 million grant to assist the county with the project.

These jobs may not pay as much as IP’s paid, but it’s certainly good to have new employment opportunities for Western Tidewater on the way.