RICHMOND, VA - Governor Bob McDonnell announced today that Liaoyang Ningfeng Woodenware Co., Ltd., a Chinese furniture manufacturer, will invest $2.1 million to establish its first U.S. subsidiary, New Ridge, LLC, in Smyth County. The company will manufacture furniture components for the Chinese market, supply its European customers with finished products from the U.S., manufacture and sell products for the U.S. market, and expand into lumber production and export to China. Virginia successfully competed against Kentucky, Tennessee and West Virginia for the project, which will create 125 new jobs.
Governor McDonnell met with Liaoyang Ningfeng Woodenware Co. officials about this project in Beijing, China during his April 2013 Asia Marketing Mission.
Speaking about today's announcement, Governor McDonnell said, "Last April I met with Liaoyang Ningfeng Woodenware Co. in Beijing to discuss bringing its first U.S. subsidiary to Virginia. This project is of utmost importance to the Commonwealth and to Smyth County, and successfully competing against three other states is a great testament to the opportunity the company sees in the state and region. The addition of New Ridge, LLC and 125 new jobs is tremendous news for an area that is recovering economically, and the company is able to take advantage of an existing facility that is outfitted for furniture manufacturing and allows quick startup to production. We welcome New Ridge, LLC as a great addition to our strong wood products industry cluster in Southwest Virginia."
"This great project is a testament to the strong relationship Virginia maintains and continues to strengthen with China," said Jim Cheng, Virginia Secretary of Commerce and Trade. "Liaoyang Ningfeng Woodenware Co.'s new company, New Ridge, LLC, will be a great asset to the Commonwealth in many ways. In addition to creating new jobs and repurposing a vacant facility, the company will also use Virginia timber to manufacture its furniture components. We are pleased New Ridge can take advantage of the region's plentiful natural resources as it expands into the U.S. market."
Liaoyang Ningfeng Woodenware Co., Ltd. is a privately-held, family-owned, furniture company established in 1998 and headquartered in Liao Yang, China. The company has a number of operations in Russia and other locations in Northeast China and over 550 employees. Liaoyang is one of the global strategic suppliers to IKEA in Asia Pacific and manufactures solid wood bathroom furniture that is shipped to IKEA stores in worldwide.
"We were always impressed with Virginia's pro-business investment environment, its excellent infrastructure and strategic geographic location, and the health of its economy," said Ms. ZOU, Xiaohui, President & CEO, New Ridge, LLC. "These favorable conditions plus the incentive programs presented us a compelling business case. Ultimately it is the support that we received from the local and state governments, our ongoing strong relationship with area suppliers and businesses, and especially the hospitality of the local communities, the skill and quality of the local labor force and the state's quality of life and education excellence that made us decide to put our U.S. roots in Southwest Virginia. We will work hard to grow and succeed with the communities of which we are now part."
The Virginia Economic Development Partnership worked with Smyth County and Virginia's aCorridor to secure the project for Virginia. Governor McDonnell approved a $250,000 grant from the Governor's Opportunity Fund to assist Smyth County with the project. The Virginia Tobacco Indemnification and Community Revitalization Commission approved $450,000 in Tobacco Region Opportunity Funds for the project. The company is eligible to receive benefits from the Virginia Enterprise Zone Program, administered by the Virginia Department of Housing and Community Development. Through its Virginia Jobs Investment Program, the Virginia Department of Business Assistance will provide funding and services to support the company's recruitment and training activities.
"Smyth County is very excited to be selected by Liaoyang Ningfeng Woodenware Co. as the location for its first manufacturing operation in the U.S., and we thank the company for its investment," said Wade Blevins, Chairman, Smyth County Board of Supervisors. "This project will go a long way toward replacing the jobs that were lost when Merillat closed earlier this year. Smyth County is happy to provide funds through our EDA to partner with the State and the Tobacco Commission for assistance on this project. It is truly a great day here in Smyth County."
"Today's announcement of 125 new manufacturing jobs coming to Smyth County is a major victory for our region," said Senator Charles W. Carrico, member, the Virginia Tobacco Indemnification and Community Revitalization Commission. "It signals the beginning of what could be a revitalization of the manufacturing economy in Southwest Virginia, and it will provide much-needed employment opportunities for our citizens. I would like to welcome New Ridge, LLC to Smyth County and commend the state officials and organizations who worked together to make this venture a success."
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