Meherrin River Forest Products Purchases Former Coastal Lumber Facility
Weldon, NC – Meherrin River Forest Products, a Virginia based hardwood lumber processor, will acquire the former Coastal Lumber property near Weldon and renovate the facility to expand its operations, Governor Pat McCrory and Secretary of Commerce Sharon Decker announced today. The company will create 40 jobs and invest more than $1.8 million over the next three years.
Our state has abundant natural resources and this project is a great opportunity for us to use those assets to create jobs,” said Governor McCrory. “We welcome Meherrin River Forest Products to Halifax County and wish them continued success in North Carolina.”
Meherrin River Forest Products currently operates a hardwood lumber production facility in Alberta, VA, about 50 miles from Weldon, NC. Meherrin River will acquire and repair the sawmill facility that was once the headquarters and flagship operation for Coastal Lumber. “
We are blessed with the opportunity to partner with the community of Weldon and Halifax County in the restoration of the facility and a portion of the 150 plus jobs previously lost. This acquisition will allow for us to continue our growth and help meet a growing customer demand for both domestic and export hardwood products,” said Don Bright, President of Meherrin River Forest Products. “I am confident positive effects will be felt both locally and throughout the state. It is time for America to get back to work and North Carolina is a great place to start.”
“North Carolina has the highly-skilled workforce that companies need to be competitive in a global economy,” said Sharon Decker, N.C. Secretary of Commerce. “Meherrin River Forest Products’ decision to locate in Halifax County will provide employment opportunities for an area that was hit hard by the recession.”
Salaries will vary by job function, but the average annual salary for the new jobs will be $33,843, plus benefits. The Halifax County average annual wage is $29,299.
“We are pleased that Meherrin River Forest Products has chosen Halifax County for its newest manufacturing facility,” said James Pierce, Chairman of the Halifax County Board of Commissioners. “Meherrin will find a skilled labor force and pro-business climate to help them succeed in Halifax County.”
Because of its location in the heart of the Southern US “wood basket” Halifax County is recognized for high quality forest resources, both hardwoods and softwoods. “The forest products industry has been an important part of the area’s economy for many years and continues to be an important economic sector for the future,” said Frank V. Avent III, Chairman of the Halifax County Economic Development Commission.
“I am so proud that Halifax County continues to focus on its forestry industry roots and I applaud the work of our economic development team and local leaders for their tireless efforts to keep and attract jobs to Halifax County,” said Senator Angela Bryant.
The project was made possible in part by a performance-based grant from the One North Carolina Fund of up to $80,000. The grant is contingent upon proof of job creation and receipt of a local funding match. The One NC Fund provides financial assistance, through local governments, to attract business projects that will stimulate economic activity and create new jobs in the state. Companies receive no money up front and must meet job creation and investment performance standards to qualify for grant funds.
State Representative Michael Wray commented, “This project is a perfect example of the strong collaboration between the State of North Carolina and our local communities in supporting new jobs and investment to North Carolina. Creating quality jobs is a priority and these 40 new jobs to be created by Meherrin are good news for Halifax County.”
Partners that helped with this project include: the N.C. Department of Commerce, N.C. Department of Community Colleges, Halifax County, Town of Weldon, Halifax County Economic Development Commission, and North Carolina’s Northeast Commission.