By FRED PACE
MILTON, W.Va. — For small towns to survive, they must be able to attract new businesses.
“New business means new jobs,” said Milton Mayor Tom Canterbury.
H.T. Hackney Co., one of the largest wholesale distributors in the country, announced on Tuesday that it is opening a warehouse and distribution operation in the former SuperValu facility in Milton.
“This is a very encouraging and exciting announcement for Milton, Cabell County and West Virginia,” Canterbury said. “This means jobs and a boost to our economy.”
H.T. Hackney, based in Knoxville, Tennessee, stocks more than 30,000 products, from food and food service items to equipment, and serves more than 20,000 retail locations in 22 states. The company’s warehouse and distribution center will be a 246,000-square-foot facility located on 8 acres in Milton.
The new distribution operation is expected to employ 70 people, officials said.
SuperValu shut its distribution center about three years ago after nearly 40 years in operation there, costing the community as many as 90 jobs.
“Not very many companies can handle taking over a warehouse the size of the old SuperValu,” Canterbury said. “I am just glad to be part of the process of getting this community-oriented company to choose Milton for their new location.”
The site research by H.T. Hackney representatives included reviewing properties listed in the West Virginia Department of Commerce online database of Sites and Buildings. The company executives contacted the Development Office for more information and discussions.
“The successful effort to bring H.T. Hackney to West Virginia can be credited in part to the teamwork of the West Virginia Development Office, the Huntington Area Development Council and the city of Milton,” said H. Wood Thrasher, West Virginia secretary of commerce. “I look forward to seeing their future success, and my team at the Department of Commerce stands ready to assist in any way.”
“We are looking forward to moving into the Milton community, where we will be better positioned to serve and supply area retailers including Clark’s Pump N Shop, City Ice & Fuel and Fruth Pharmacy,” said H.T. Hackney CEO William “Bill” Sansom.
Sansom credited Brian Waugh, chief operating officer of one of the company’s key customers, Mar Stores, for his role in the decision to locate in Milton.
“(Waugh) is from the Milton area and has been very helpful and encouraging in our move to this location,” Sansom said. “Others who have been instrumental in assisting with our expansion into the area include Mayor Tom Canterbury and Sheriff Chuck Zerkle. I also want to thank Governor (Jim) Justice and others at the state level for their help and support. I appreciate the tremendous backing of the customers and leaders welcoming us into the community.”
The company is accepting job applications from noon to 7 p.m. Thursday, Feb. 16, at Milton City Hall, 1139 Smith St. The positions to be filled include Class A CDL drivers, office workers, building and equipment maintenance personnel, diesel mechanics, warehouse workers and sales staff.
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