Berkeley County leader says P&G plant bringing ‘careers’ not just jobs

MARTINSBURG, W.Va. — The preparation for luring a large company like Procter & Gamble began in 2012 when the Berkeley County Development Authority opted to expand the Tabler Station Industrial Park along I-81 to 600 acres.

“There are plenty of sites all over the mid-Atlantic that will accommodate the average 50- to 100-acre industrial project, but there are very few that will accommodate a mega-manufacturer project,” executive director Stephen Christian told MetroNews.

P&G announced Tuesday it will build a $500-million manufacturing plant on 450 acres at the Tabler Station site. The project is expected to create at least 1,000 construction jobs, followed by 700 permanent jobs once the plant is operational.

“These jobs are going to be real careers,” Christian said. “People can spend their lives working for Procter & Gamble, enjoying all the benefits of working for a real blue-chip company.”

Construction on the plant is expected to begin later this year with an opening possible in 2017.

The Martinsburg site was among 40 the company considered and will represent only the second manufacturing plant P&G has built in the U.S. since 1971.

“This is great,” U.S. Sen. Shelley Moore Capito said. “Congratulations to Procter & Gamble, to the local economic development folks and to the governor. We helped the local economic development folks to develop Tabler Station where they are going to develop their facilities. It’s a wonderful announcement.”

Christian said the development authority, the state Development Office and Gov. Earl Ray Tomblin did what was necessary to make Berkeley County a competitive option.

Proctor & Gamble currently operates 29 plants in 21 states and topped $83 billion in sales during 2014. It announced last March plans to drop 100 brands and streamline its business toward 80 remaining brands—including Tide, Crest, Gillette, Olay, Pampers, and Duracell—that account for 90 percent of sales.

“This new plant will leverage economies of scale and standardized manufacturing platforms to P&G’s advantage by allowing us to produce multiple brands at one strategic location,” Yannis Skoufalos, P&G’s global product supply officer, told where the company is headquartered.

Joining large facilities located in Georgia, Ohio and Pennsylvania, P&G’s new plant is designed to maximize the company’s new distribution network.

“This will enable us to rapidly and efficiently serve retail customers and consumers throughout the eastern half of the United States, reaching 80 percent of them within one-day transit,” Skoufalos said.

Christian believes this is just the start, vowing the authority will begin recruiting spinoff companies that can benefit from the Procter & Gamble plant.

“This is the end of the process of recruiting Procter & Gamble to come to Berkeley County but it is the beginning of the process of really creating a ripple-effect in the economy that’s based around a major manufacturer,” he said.

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