Local Business and Economic Development

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Photo: Ca. Artisan Cheese Guild

Botetourt County is one of several in the state considering a new economic possibility — and one designed to help its dairy farmers on a long-term basis. The question is whether the county might be a good location in efforts to attract California artisinal cheese makers to establish eastern states operations. WFIR’s Evan Jones has the story:

09-10 Botetourt Cheese Wrap-WEB

Gov. Ralph Northam

Governor Northam plans to make appearances in Salem and Roanoke next week. His schedule calls for a “community development announcement” Friday morning outside the Salem Public Library — then an “economic development announcement” in Roanoke, the exact location not yet announced. After that, the governor will address the Virginia Economic Developers Association conference at the Hotel Roanoke and Conference Center.

RBRA photo

Passengers counts at Roanoke-Blacksburg Regional Airport are taking off this year — for the third year in a row. Airport officials say that could lead to more flights, and just maybe, flights to new cities. The numbers are up 7.7% percent for the first eight months of year compared to the same period one year ago. That’s close to 27,000 more passengers.  WFIR’s Evan Jones has the story:

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Flying Mouse Brewery/ G Marrano photo WFIR

The craft beer industry and the tasting rooms that have popped up in the Roanoke Valley over the past few years seem unending – but a local columnist says there could be a tipping point as WFIR’s Gene Marrano reports:

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Hear a complete live in-studio conversation with Gordon Kendall below:

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Photo: Gene Marrano

UPDATED FRIDAY PM: There is a tentative agreement between Yokohama Tire and its union employees in Salem.  Members of United Steelworkers Local 1023 hadvebeen working under a couple of contract extensions, the latest expiring at 4:00 pm today. A contract vote is expected next week.

PREVIOUS: Union workers at Yokohama Tire in Salem will be returning to work today after demonstrating in support of their bargaining team. Union workers at Yokohama Tire in Salem held a “Solidarity Rally” outside the company’s plant to show their dissatisfaction with Yokohama’s latest contract proposals — and support for their bargain team. The former four-year contract with United Steelworkers Union Local 1023 expired in May, and the extension of that contract expired last night at midnight. But there’s a new contract in place until 4 pm tomorrow – so crews will be returning to work today.

PREVIOUSLY: Union workers at Yokohama Tire in Salem are holding a “Solidarity Rally” outside the company’s plant this afternoon to show their unhappiness with Yokohama’s latest contract proposals — and support for their bargain team. The former four-year contract with United Steelworkers Union Local 1023 expired in May, and the extension of that contract expires tonight at midnight. WFIR’s Gene Marrano spoke with John Spickard, Editor of the local’s newsletter:

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Yokohama employs more than 600 union workers in Salem. The company has not responded to our request for comment.

A Bedford company is expanding – and planning to add 10 full-time jobs. Bedford County Economic Development officials say Bison Printing will break ground in October for a 10,000 square foot addition, one that will create room for new equipment. Bison Printing currently employs more than 50 people.

News release: Bedford, Virginia—The Bedford County Office of Economic Development is pleased to announce that Bison Printing, Inc. will invest more than $650,000 to expand its facility and add new equipment, along with 10 full-time jobs. To meet the growing needs of the digital commercial printing industry, Bison will break ground in October on a 10,000 square-foot addition at its 42,000 square-foot facility located on On Time Road in Bedford. The company has already begun ramping up its production capacity and hired five full time employees, with plans to hire at least two additional employees by the end of 2018, and several more over the next two years.

“The print industry is definitely alive,” said Al Beisser, President of Bison. “The addition we are building on in Bedford will allow our operations to grow and keep up with the demand.”

The Bedford County Economic Development Authority (EDA) will assist the company under a defined performance agreement that pays a cash grant up front to assist the company with upgrading its sprinkler system in return for the real estate addition it is making in Bedford. Over the next three years, the EDA will review the company’s progress and provide an additional incentive once the jobs and investment commitments are met.

“Bison has a long history of providing quality jobs for county residents and we’re happy to partner with the company in their quest to further grow their printing capabilities and customer base,” said Mickey Johnson, Chairman of the Bedford County EDA.

Bison is an employee-owned company that has been in Bedford since 1978 and currently employs more than 50 people.

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