Local Business and Economic Development

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NEWS RELEASE: RICHMOND—Governor Ralph Northam today announced that Phoenix Hardwoods, Inc., an artisan manufacturer of high-quality furniture and home goods made exclusively from Virginia-grown hardwoods, will expand its production facility in the county and open a new retail storefront in the historic Farmer Supply store in the heart of downtown Floyd.
The new retail and manufacturing space will enable the company to grow its product line, improve production efficiencies and better serve its customers. The project will create eight (8) career focused positions, lead to $100,000 in new capital investment and allow the company to purchase an additional $76,000 of Virginia-grown hardwoods over the next three years.
“Phoenix Hardwoods makes such beautiful furniture,” said Governor Ralph S. Northam. “Each piece displays the essence of the tree, sourced near Floyd, celebrating the Blue Ridge, and made right here at home in Virginia. Our team has worked hard over four years to bring business opportunities across Virginia, and we are working hard until the very end. We’ve pushed to recruit large, global companies to Virginia–attracting more than $80 billion in new investment and 100,000 new jobs–but we get really excited about the small, family-run Virginia companies, like Phoenix Hardwoods.”
Established in 2002 by Bill and Corinne Graefe, Phoenix Hardwoods built its reputation through high-quality, artisan-crafted hardwood furniture and home goods. After nearly twenty-years in business, the founders were retiring and planning to close the company. In January 2020, longtime friends of the Graefe’s, Jeff and Annie Armistead, acquired the business. It was a perfect match with Jeff, a lifelong conservationist, and Annie, a local artist and gallery owner. Their desire was to continue what had become a loved and well-respected local business. They are passionate about retaining true handmade artisan craftsmanship which is rich in Floyd and part of the draw to this truly unique community. In addition to keeping the facility and retaining their team of talented young artisans, the company’s retail expansion into the Town of Floyd is breathing new life into the old Farmer’s Supply store, a Floyd landmark that opened in the 1930’s and closed in late 2020.
“As someone who grew-up in the Appalachian woodlands of Craig County, Virginia’s hardwood forests have always held a special place in my heart. I am thrilled that we are able to partner with a community like Floyd County to support a company like Phoenix Hardwoods as both appreciate Virginia’s hardwood resources as much as I do,” said Secretary of Agriculture and Forestry Bettina Ring. “As it is through a deep appreciation of our forests and the beautiful products that come from them, like those created by the artisans of Phoenix Hardwoods, that we are able to grow markets for Virginia’s forest landowners and support sustainable forest management and restoration of our forests.”
The company saws, planes, and finishes local hardwood logs and lumber to handcraft fine live edge furniture and accessories. Their mission is to create high end generational pieces that become more valuable once they leave the shop. Their product assortment ranges from custom tables of all kinds beds, stools, chests, live edge mirrors, desks, kitchen goods, and home accessories.  Moving the retail gallery to town will increase customer exposure and broaden their reach. Wholesale products, such as laser cut custom logo cutting boards, is a new and growing part of the business.
“As a lifelong conservationist, I’m overwhelmed and elated to receive this AFID grant,” said Phoenix Hardwoods President Jeff Armistead. “This will allow Phoenix Hardwoods to expand and continue our work with Virginia’s sustainable natural and human resources, trees, and jobs.”
The Virginia Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services (VDACS) worked with Floyd County and the Floyd County Economic Development Authority to secure this project for the Commonwealth. Governor Northam approved a $10,000 grant from the Governor’s Agriculture and Forestry Industries Development (AFID) Fund, which Floyd County will match with local funds.
“The Floyd County Board of Supervisors and the Floyd County EDA are excited about the expansion of Phoenix Hardwoods in the County,” said Floyd County Board of Supervisors Chairman Joe Turman. “This expansion by local entrepreneurs is bringing good job creation to our community and capitalizing on local craftsmanship and hardwoods.”

Founded a year ago, the Latinas Network in Roanoke has grown from 3 to more than 300 members – a support system for local Latina businesswomen and entrepreneurs. We recently told you about the Network’s one year anniversary celebration; now WFIR’s Gene Marrano has more on the Latinas Network, “In Depth”:

WFIR/Evan Jones

State transportation officials are taking one of the next steps needed to extend passenger service to the New River Valley by 2025: determining exactly where the station will be. And they are asking the public for their ideas. This comes after Virginia signed an agreement with Norfolk Southern last spring  to purchase one of the two rail lines between Roanoke and the Christiansburg area.  But there is no usable station in the NRV area along these particular tracks, so state officials have created an on-line survey to help consider four options.  A public meeting is also planned for some time this winter. WFIR’s Evan Jones has more:

Click here to participate in the survey.


From Appalachians Against Pipelines

RICHMOND, Va. (AP) — Hundreds of opponents of a natural gas pipeline rallied on Saturday in Virginia’s capital in advance of an upcoming key regulatory decision.

The Virginia State Water Control Board is expected to vote Tuesday on whether to allow construction of portions of the Mountain Valley Pipeline in wetlands and across over 200 Virginia waterways, the Richmond Times-Dispatch reported.

The Rev. William Barber, a North Carolina-based civil rights leader, told the crowd at Byrd Park that projects like the proposed pipeline are “an abusive sin” that would harm the poor.

The planned 303-mile (488-kilometer) mile pipeline will take natural gas drilled from the Marcellus and Utica shale formations and transport it through West Virginia and Virginia. A 75-mile extension into central North Carolina is also proposed.

Mountain Valley Pipeline spokesperson Natalie Cox called Barber’s message that the project is sinful “an uninformed and unproductive comment.” The pipeline, Cox added, is “designed to provide reliable, affordable, clean-burning natural gas to homes and businesses in Virginia and throughout the eastern United States.”

The proposed North Carolina extension took a hit earlier this month when Virginia’s State Air Pollution Control Board voted against a permit for a gas compressor station located in a county that borders North Carolina.

Rosie’s Gaming Emporium in Vinton showed off its $28 million expansion today, one that includes much more than additional gaming space. The expansion more than doubles the size and almost triples capacity at Rosie’s, which opened two and a half years ago. Officials say it allows for 350 more games, ones not seen there before. Beyond that, Rosie’s has a new large circular bar and a sound stage to hold up to six musicians.  Outside, there is a new parking ramp to handle the increased capacity. WFIR’s Evan Jones has more:

Photos: Ian Price





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