WYTHEVILLE, Va. (WJHL) – Monday marked a major announcement in Wythe County, Virginia that the governor and other state leaders say is “the best of days” in economic development.
A company that manufactures nitrile medical gloves is bringing all of its operations to Southwest Virginia from Asia.
Blue Star Manufacturing and American Glove Innovations are investing $714 million to build an advanced, one-of-a-kind nitrile glove production operation in Wythe County’s Progress Park.
This venture will create 2,500 jobs within three to five years; it marks the largest job creation in Southwest Virginia in a generation.
The company expects to produce 60 billion medical gloves a year.
Leaders announced Monday the project has the potential to reverse the population decline seen over the past decade in Southwest Virginia.
The creation of the new operation is returning the manufacturing of key personal protective equipment to the United States from Asia.
Nitrile glove manufacturing is mostly consolidated to the Asian countries of China, Malaysia, and Thailand. Demand is at an all-time high thanks to disruptions in the supply chain following COVID-19 outbreaks, long delivery times, ocean transportation risks, tariffs, and other challenges.
Southwest Virginia Congressman Morgan Griffith spoke at Monday’s announcement saying, “This is a historic day.”
Griffith said he is working on an amendment to have the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services buy all of their PPE from American companies. Southwest Virginia’s newest facility will be a huge step forward to that goal.
“It will provide opportunity for our citizens, economic growth for local communities, and tax revenues to support public services. This is a significant achievement for the people of Wythe County,” said Congressman Griffith.
Governor Northam says the Commonwealth has committed $8.5 million to upgrade infrastructure at Progress Park in Wythe County.
The upgrades will make Progress Park more competitive for attracting other major manufacturing projects in the future.
“These investments are leading to the largest job creation commitment Southwest Virginia has seen in a generation, and it’s a game-changer for the Commonwealth,” said Governor Northam. “This is about investing to bring jobs back to the United States from overseas, and doing it right here in rural America. We can all be proud the Commonwealth’s investment is bringing these jobs back to America at this unique manufacturing campus. This can be transformational for all of Southwest Virginia.”
Virginia successfully competed with Tennessee and Texas for the project.