APPOMATTOX, Va. – The whirring of machines and clanging of metal is sparking new life in Appomattox.
On Friday, Virginia MetalFab — a local manufacturing company— announced a $9 million expansion creating 130 new jobs. The company is moving into the former Thomasville Furniture plant.
Governor Glenn Youngkin congratulated the company on its success.
“It’s the gift of growth. It’s the gift of jobs. And it’s the gift of opportunity,” said Youngkin.
General Manager Brian Morris said they offer competitive pay without a long commute.
“Instead of going to Lynchburg, potentially, and having that commute, could be 45 minutes, stay closer to home, see your family, get to be able to go to your kids’ games,” said Morris.
Virginia MetalFab is bringing back new life to the Thomasville facility, which shut its doors for the last time in 2011.
At its peak, Thomasville employed more than 1,200 people, including Charlie Jones who worked there for 33.5 years before it closed.
“It was devastating to a lot of people,” said Jones. “I thought I would stay here until I retired.”
In 2014, Appomattox suffered another blow. A failed deal to bring Chinese-based company, Lindenburg Industries, to the facility cost Virginia $1.4 million.
But Friday’s announcement brought renewed hope.
“Today is about promises made and promises kept,” said Youngkin.
Walking around the revitalized plant brings back fond memories for Jones.
″It was like family,” he said.
A family that MetalFab welder Brook Armstrong said is alive to this day.
“When I leave one family in the morning, I come to another one,” said Armstrong. “I’m waiting to see what other people are going to come join our team.”
“Appomattox, this community, is something that’s growing, it’s thriving, and it has a bright future,” said Morris.