Weber Knapp Proves Importance Of Manufacturing

We won’t call it a full comeback, but it has been nice to see some good news about the area’s manufacturing sector recently.

Shults Real Estate LLC is in the midst of buying the former Quality Markets building on Fluvanna Avenue to house a light manufacturer that would bring 30 or 40 jobs. Gary Lynn, retired CEO of Lynn Development Inc., recently discussed a tour by the Laszlo Group of the city with the possibility of bringing a new manufacturing facility employing up to 50 people as manufacturing of the Solar Booster Module gets up to speed. Then there was last week’s announcement that RHI Monofrax has been purchased by a private equity company with an eye toward making Monofrax strong enough that it can stand on its own. That is welcome news for the plant’s 160 employees.

Anyone who wants to know the importance of manufacturing to the local economy needs only read the following paragraph from a story that appeared in the June 8 edition of The Post-Journal:

“Weber Knapp is entering its 107th year with an employee base totaling 135 people at its facilities on Allen and Chandler streets,” read the paragraph from reporter Jimmy McCarthy’s account. “Since 2011, the company has hired 33 new, full-time employees. (Rex) McCray (Weber Knapp president and CEO) said the company’s annual local economic impact in 2016 is $11.2 million between wages, benefits, local suppliers, utilities, taxes and direct community support.”

Weber Knapp is a perfect example of the importance of manufacturing in our community – and the fact that we need more of it.