March 9, 2014
Hundreds of new jobs are on the way to Gordonsville, but it isn't just the unemployed who could benefit from the boom.
Other businesses that were hit hard when a major employer closed up shop a few years ago are looking forward to the economic development.
On Friday, Governor Terry McAuliffe was in the small Orange County town to announce that New Jersey-based Green Applications, LLC is investing nearly $10 million to establish its first Virginia operation in Gordonsville.
Along with it, 323 new jobs.
That would restore more than twice the number of positions lost when American Press went out of business in 2011.
"When American Press went out of business, it was tough on everyone in Gordonsville," said Craig Hartman, owner of The Barbeque Exchange. "We're a small town. We have a small population, so a business the size of American Press makes a big dent when something happens like that."
After American Press closed its doors, Hartman said he saw a dip in his lunch business and had to say goodbye to some familiar faces.
"Losing a friend is probably worse, but economically, yes, we saw the impact -- definitely," he said.
It was the same story down the street at Tastee Freez.
"I had a couple of friends who worked there," said manager Christina Johnson. "When a place shuts down and you lose your job and you've worked there for years, you feel like all hope is lost."
Johnson says the restaurant is looking forward to the potential new customers thanks to the expected jobs.
Hartman says it'll do good for more than just the lunch shops.
"To have a business like this right down the street with 300 employees, this will be fine for us, but really for the whole town," he said.
"I think it's great." agreed The Barbeque Exchange customer Jamie Watkins. "My father worked [at American Press] when I was young until they closed down, so I'm glad to see more opportunity coming."
To learn more about the jobs openings with Green Applications, click HERE.