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Economic ‘ripple effect’ may help West Virginia

March 18th, 2016 by WCBC Radio

Prospective new businesses and retention of another could impact the economy of Hampshire County.

Eileen Johnson, executive director of the Hampshire County Development Authority, spoke about the prospects during a recent meeting.

Johnson said NS Martin Processing, a food manufacturer from Canada, is looking to locate a distribution plant in the county.

She said Martin owners toured the Gourmet Central facility in the Romney Business Park to consider use of that site. Gourmet Central will be moving its business to Pleasantdale this year.

“NS Martin may be able to take advantage of certain equipment onsite at Gourmet Central,” Johnson said.

Locating in Hampshire County “could cause a ripple effect," she said. "They will need a significant supply of meat.”

Riverside, a mulch facility near Romney, has gone bankrupt. A new group, Riverside Ground Cover is looking to continue that manufacturing business and is discussing funding assistance and resource options with county officials.

Two distilleries are under construction in the county.

Long Locust Lookout Farm and South Branch Whiskey Distillery is located the Junction area.

Calvin Riggleman, owner of Bigg Riggs farm is building the Flying Buck distillery in Pleasantdale.

“We should be open sometime in the spring,” Riggleman said.

DirectAnswer, a 25-year-old fulfillment business that expanded from Oxon Hill, Maryland, to Capon Bridge Tech Park in 2013, has hired a marketing director and opened an administration facility in Philadelphia.

The business is increasing operations as far as services they provide. Direct Express, a separate entity, is doing packing and shipping work in addition to having the ability to do commercial printing.

The Smokin Musket, a gun shop, that also offers hunting and fishing supplies, is preparing to open next month in Bloomery.

The Gun Doctor 20, a gunsmith shop outside of Romney city limits on U.S. Route 50, is also opening in the spring.

Tourism is also impacting the economy of the county, Johnson said.

In 2014, tourism had an economic impact of $4.5 billion statewide, affecting 46,000 jobs and funding $527 million in state and local programs.

“Without tourism, the average tax would have to go up $692 to be able to maintain existing programs,” Johnson said.

Johnson said statistics in 2015 showed that the tourism impact on Hampshire County was $35.8 million; Morgan County, $24.7 million; Mineral County, $21 million and Hardy County, $23 million.

A survey completed by Dean Runyan Associates in 2008 showed tourists and travelers to Hampshire County spent $35.9 million. In 2007 tourists spent $33.5 million in the county.

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