BEVERLY, W.Va. — Work is now underway for a 85,000-square-foot addition to the Armstrong Flooring facility in Beverly, following an official groundbreaking ceremony held at the site Monday.

The expansion will create a distribution center at the already 750,000-square-foot facility in Randolph County — the largest pre-finished hardwood flooring plant in North America, said Robbie Morris, executive director of the Randolph County Development Authority.

“It’s quite a large facility. It’s definitely the largest plant that we have in this region, and the fact that they continue to grow and expand onto it is quite signficant,” Morris said. “We’re very proud to not only have them in Randolph County but in West Virginia.”

Morris said the project has the potential to create up to 50 new jobs in the next decade.

“The official number is that it will retain 60 jobs and create an additional 50 jobs, so that’s significant,” he said.

But, Morris said, that doesn’t account for the signficant number of indirect jobs this could add to Randolph County.

As the facility increases production and makes more flooring, Armstrong will need to purchase even more lumber from the local sawmills, Morris said.

“There are at least three or four sawmills from the region that have told me that if it wasn’t for Armstrong they would be out of business,” he said. “The amount of lumber that they buy and process every year, it really is an anchor for a regional economy, not just Randolph County by any means. Definitely our regional economy is bolstered by Armstrong.”

Not to mention the employees themselves putting that money back into the local economy, Morris said.

“They have excellent medical benefits up there so with well over 600 employees and continuing to grow with all private health insurance helps our local health system,” he said.

The projected completion date of the project is August 2019.

“My guess, given weather and everything else, it’ll probably end up being a little over a year, but a year will end up being the general target date,” Morris said.

Even with a year to go before the distribution center’s grand opening, Morris is already looking forward to seeing it come to fruition.

“I’m excited to get the construction underway and hope for a great construction phase, but once this facility is fully up and operational, not only will they have a distribution center, but they’ll have additional warehouse space that will accommodate additional manufacturing, additional jobs, and they’ll free up some floor space for potential future expansion, different finish lines and things of that nature,” he said. “It provides so much for their facility and allows them to run more efficient, more effective, and that just means great things for the employees and other businesses and citizens in this area.”

Morris said seeing a company like Armstrong Flooring make the commitment to Randolph County to not only continue their business in Beverly but also keep it flourishing and growing means wonders for the region’s overall economic climate.

“They’ve been here nearly 30 years, and the agreement that they have with the Randolph County Development Authority will have them here for at least another 20,” he said. “For a facility like that to be able to see their 50th anniversary in one location is kind of unique, and probably the biggest success story coming out of this is our largest private for-profit company and manufacturing company in this region will be here for many years to come.”

The expansion project is a collaborative effort with the Randolph County Development Authority and financing from the U.S. Economic Development Administration and West Virginia Economic Development Authority.

U.S. Sen. Shelley Moore Capito attended the groundbreaking ceremony.

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