Bluefield Daily Telegraph, Bluefield, WV

Editorials

August 8, 2012

Signs of life: New regional developments helpful

Despite a stubbornly sluggish national economy, small pockets of growth can still be found across the region, including in the cities of Bluefield and Princeton.

While not a Toyota plant, or a large manufacturing firm capable of producing high-paying jobs, smaller but welcomed developments are underway in the region. These projects are important, and could help to pave the way to future growth.

For example, construction on the new Cole Truck Parts Inc. facility is ongoing on Bluefield Avenue in Bluefield, and a kidney dialysis company, Fresenius, which is currently located near Bluefield Regional Medical Center, will be relocating to the former T&T Pontiac site also on Bluefield Avenue.

Tom Cole, owner of Cole Truck Parts, said the move keeps the dialysis company in Bluefield. The ribbon was also cut last week in Bluefield on the new Mint Motors Tire Warehouse facility, which is utilizing a portion of the old Freight Station also on Bluefield Avenue.

Greg Shrewsbury, the new economic development director for Bluefield, has set a self-imposed deadline of Aug. 31 for a commitment from K-V-A-T Food Stores Inc., the parent company of the Food City and Super Dollar Food Chains. The company acquired the lease on the former Cumberland Road Kroger store earlier this year. Shrewsbury said K-V-A-T Food Stores should know by Aug. 31 what the plans are for the Cumberland Road location.

In neighboring Bluefield, Va., the new Taco Bell is up and running, and appears to be doing good business. A local dermatologist is also planning to move into the former Kroger facility in Bluefield, Va.

 In the city of Princeton, the former Blockbuster Video store in the Pine Plaza is now a new Factory Outlet facility. A new Pizza Hut has also opened in the Pine Plaza for carry-out orders.

Both Robert Farley, executive director of the Princeton-Mercer County Chamber of  Commerce, and Marc Meachum, president and chief executive officer of the Greater Bluefield Chamber of  Commerce, say they expect to see a lull in local economic development activity as many businesses are waiting to see who will win the presidential election in November before announcing expansion or relocation plans.

Still pockets of small growth is better than no growth in difficult economic times. We applaud those new business owners who have recently opened facilities in Bluefield and Princeton, and we hope to see more tourism and economic development initiatives in the months ahead that are tied to the new Hatfield-McCoy Trails.

All growth — both big and small — is welcomed.

 

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