Businesses in Martinsville, VA
The primary economic base of Martinsville-Henry County has shifted several times over the years. The area originally was an agricultural community producing mainly tobacco. Beginning in the early 1900s, a population boom enabled Henry County to become a center for the manufacture of beds and other furniture. The region became so identified with furniture manufacturing that a 20-foot-tall, 5,000-pound chair is one of the city’s most notable landmarks. Textile and chemical manufacturing plants became more prevalent as the century progressed. Over the past 20 years the economic focus has become much more diversified. Such homegrown companies as Bassett Furniture, Stanley Furniture and American of Martinsville have been joined by high-tech metal production plants, food-processing facilities and plastics and polymer manufacturers.
The area’s economic engine is powered by the Martinsville-Henry County Economic Development Corp., a nonprofit, public/private development organization designed to help create jobs and improve business opportunities. The EDC assisted in the creation of the 2,000-acre Patriot Centre Industrial Park, a sprawling county-owned facility equipped with its own electrical substation and poised to eventually expand by another 1,200 acres. The county also purchased land for the creation of the Commonwealth Crossing Business Centre, being developed on approximately 700 acres near the North Carolina border. One of the newest tenants in Patriot Centre is RTI International Metals, which manufactures titanium products and metal components for the aerospace industry. RTI is taking over more than 300,000 square feet of space at Patriot Centre and investing approximately $100 million in the creation of a facility scheduled to be up and running by 2011.
Economic growth and job creation can originate from outside the region as well. Memphis-based Monogram Food Solutions assumed operations of the Knauss Meat Snacks plant in September 2009 and renamed it Monogram Snacks Martinsville. MFS invested more than $10 million in the plant, and production volume increased 58 percent in less than a year to more than 12 million pounds annually. Henry County also is home to Blue Ridge Aquaculture, the world’s largest sustainable indoor fishery, as well as fiber manufacturers such as Drake Extrusion and distribution firms such as Warren Trucking. Efforts to improve business prospects in Uptown Martinsville include a variety of programs involving design assistance, economic development activities and the promotion of arts and culture.
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