JEFFERSON COUNTY, W.Va. (WDVM) — Jefferson County lost hundreds of jobs last year when a major employer, Penn National Gaming, laid off nearly half its workforce at Charles Town’s Hollywood casino because of the pandemic.

But in the fast-growing eastern panhandle of West Virginia, new jobs are on their way. Governor Jim Justice announced at the state capitol Monday that a Nebraska-based automotive racing parts distributor — Speedway Motors — is taking nearly 300 thousand square feet of warehouse space backed by a $6 million-dollar investment in the Mountain State with 25 new jobs, initially. The strategic location was key to the decision.

“The key asset, the key catalyst to closing this deal was having an available facility, and our location for logistics networks, for shipping. they gain about a day, a day and a half against their competitors,” says Dennis Jarvis II, Director of the Jefferson County Economic Development Authority.

State Senator Patricia Rucker, a Republican who represents Jefferson County, says the eastern panhandle can be a magnet for new business investment.

“It’s something that really puts West Virginia once again on the competitive advantage,” Rucker says. Folks all over the country are recognizing our ideal location for business.”

The company will partner with Blue Ridge Technical College for workforce training. Economic development chief Jarvis says all the stars aligned to bring this together.

“It was all about strategic location, opportunity, and a can-do positive attitude,” Jarvis says. Senator Rucker hopes the Speedway commitment will be a template for more new employers.

“I’m very glad to see Speedway come to Jefferson County,” Rucker says. “They’re a great company and family-owned and American made. It’s exactly what we want to see.”

Another new, major Jefferson County employer, Rockwool Manufacturing, hopes to be fully staffed by the middle of this year.

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