MARTINSBURG, W.Va. — The Berkeley County Development Authority announced Tuesday Rust-Oleum will lease 630,000 of space in the former GM building in Martinsburg and employ up to 100 workers at a new distribution operation.

Rust-Oleum will be consolidating operations from its Williamsport, Md. facility into the space at the Shockey Commerce Center.

“The I-81 corridor is strategically important to our long term success, and service for our East Coast customers,” said Barry Horner, VP Logistics and Operations for Rust-Oleum Corp. in a prepared release. “Berkeley County and the State of West Virginia demonstrated a pro-business attitude and competitive business environment. We’re very happy to be investing in West Virginia.”

Berkeley County Development Authority Executive Director Stephen Christian said the authority has been working with Rust-Oleum since last April.

“There has been detailed analysis of a variety of solutions, including a possible new build-to-suit warehouse,” Christian said. “The competition is always strong in our section of the I-81 corridor, but the longer Rust-Oleum examined the market, the better Berkeley County looked. And the more they liked Shockey’s existing building solution.”

Rust-Oleum is a top manufacturer of protective paints and coatings for home and industry use.

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  • Jonus Grumby

    I don't see a whole lot of additional employment opportunities for Berkeley County. Since it appears to be a relocation from Williamsport, MD to Martinsburg, I would suspect many currently employed there will simply drive the additional 13 miles to the new plant.

  • Larry

    Another factor contributing to the growth in that area is the fact that there is some fairly gentle, unoccupied, useable terrain there, unlike most everywhere else in WV.

    • Mason County Contrarian

      Don't forget the safe, clean water.

      • Larry

        I can't comment on the water, I've no way of knowing how safe or clean it is.

        • Mason County Contrarian


  • Independent View

    If one drives I-81, a North-South Corridor it's lined with distribution centers in Maryland and Pennsylvania. However, noticeably lacking are distribution centers along I-81 in WV.
    The Eastern Panhandle Counties of Jefferson, Berkeley & Morgan have experienced an explosion of growth of folks migrating from the DC Metro Area because of the high cost of living in those areas, taxes, traffic, crime and all of the other problems urban sprawl brings.
    Additionally, retirees that bought their homes in these areas during the 60s & 70s in the 50-$60k range can now easily sell them for six figures, move to the Eastern Panhandle and buy one similar to what they had for 100-$125k and the property tax rate is much, much lower in WV, add in the low crime rate, lack of traffic congestion and BOOM! For those still working and choosing to migrate to WV, AmTrack provides daily train service to the DC Metro Area and suburban VA & MD for communters.
    The explanation may be attributed to the three principles of business, location, location, location.

    • Martinsburger

      Not to quibble... but Martinsburg and Berkeley County are PART of the Washington, D.C. Metro Area and have been for decades. D.C. Metro now numbers more than 9.3 million people (4th place, just behind Chicago SMSA). So it is service within the D.C. Metro area rather than "to the DC Metro Area." But your assessment is quite accurate in my opinion, being one who located in Martinsburg almost 30 years ago. Berkeley County WV is the fastest growing county in WV (in fact, one of the few that is growing) and it offers fantastic lifestyle, value and cultural amenities.

  • NC Transplant

    Something else to consider about why growth is coming to the eastern panhandle is that those three counties are Republican counties. They want and attract business unlike much of the rest of the state. But trust me they very much West Virginian. They do buy much of their gasoline over the border in VA because the gas taxes in Virginia are much less than WV. They are loyal "Mountaineer" fans many of whom migrated from the rest of the state for the opportunity that the panhandle provides in spite of Charleston politics.

    • DWL

      You might was to recheck your facts NC. Jefferson is hard core democratic and Berkeley is a RINO waste land.

  • Indian Boy

    It is all about location. New development in WV will be in areas such as the Eastern panhandle due to their favorable location. If West Virginians want jobs they are going to have to accept relocation to the areas that are growing.

  • Larry

    I'm surprised it wasn't moved to somewhere in the "rust belt", that would seem more appropriate.

  • Bubba

    Just to point out, the Rust-Oleum manufacturing plant you see from I-81 in Williamsport is not moving. It is their Distrubution Center, which is near their plant, that is moving.

    • DWL

      Interesting on your insights Bubba. Even Rust-Oleum refuses to answer that question. Yet, my inside source say it will be closed because of the unfriendly climate of the liberal ruling party in MD. Berkeley Co is like the blind squirrel that found a nut.

    • Larry

      Thanks for clarifying, seems like that area gets a lot of "distribution centers".

  • CaptainQ

    No wonder the three Eastern Panhandle counties want to leave WV and rejoin VA, these counties are very un-WV-like in that there's actual economic prosperity going on in them! While most of this state is losing factories/businesses/jobs the Eastern Panhandle's actually doing quite well!

    What are they doing different from the rest of us? Maybe the other counties in WV can learn something from them.

    • Martinsburger

      Unfortunately, the primary driver is taxpayer money. Jefferson went for Obama once, since the commies voted the students twice or thrice, but no County in WV went for King O twice. The government is obliged to relocate critical facilities at least 90 miles from the nuclear blast zone. There is the IRS National Computing Center, DHS (such as Coast Guard), Interior Dept., Ag. Dept. and lots of black project stuff dotted all over the County, including the Moon Base at the "Air National Guard" airport that hums day and night. Then, there are the Spaceport structures that also make strange noises in the middle of the night and that are called Italcementi, allegedly a concrete production facility :)

    • DWL

      No, Jefferson Co needs to go to MD. The county is full of liberals that can't balance their checkbooks and think the only way to balance it, is to tax themselves to prosperity.

    • Mason County Contrarian

      I have extensively traveled that area. It is a different West Virginia.

    • proudlyconservative

      Those counties have progressive, not regressive, ideals, much like NoVa as you cite.

  • ViennaGuy

    Congratulations to Berkeley County!

    • tim1

      Hope they hire a few WV residents as the new hires. I wonder how many tax incentives were given. Probably will pay their first tax payment in 2019.

      • DWL

        It's reported (pre-packaged BS) that NO tax incentives were provided, but that they would be able to apply for any to which they would qualify. (Laymen’s definition – Politicians will bend and twist the law to suit your needs – don’t forget about the hand under the table.)

      • Mike

        If it creates jobs, what are your crying about?

        • Brandon

          Not crying. The story leads you to think there is going to be 100 new jobs, when reality says there may not be any. It's good for the county tax revenue though and that is good!

          • StarInWV

            Well, the good thing with RO using the former GM plant is that provides more space then what they have in Williamsport now. If they need to expand, that can and that sometimes translates to additional job opportunties.

        • StarInWV

          Williamsport is just across the Potomac from WV. I'm sure there are quite a few WV employees that work there already. The GM plant is much bigger than the existing RO facility. If they are consolidating their manufacturing, would make sense that some additional WV'ers would get a crack at some job openings. If anything, this is a big loss for MD who is in a bind itself to create additional tax revenue from its business base.

      • Brandon

        They are moving their plant a total of about 10 miles. Most likely for tax purposes and I'm sure their current employees will be coming with them so virtually no new hires will be neceasary.