Virginia Diner will invest more than $ 4.5 million to nearly double the production of its iconic gourmet peanuts in Wakefield, Virginia. The project is expected to create 16 jobs.
The planned expansion is expected to unfold in two phases over the next four years, according to the governor’s office. The first phase involves the construction of a 22,000 square foot addition to the existing building for warehousing, distribution and offices. This new facility will also allow the company to store all of its products on site.
“Virginia Diner has been an icon throughout Virginia and the Mid-Atlantic region for 92 years, thanks in large part to the support of our local community of Wakefield, regular patrons from Sussex and surrounding counties, and families who visit. for several generations. Said Virginia Diner President and COO Andrew Whisler. “We are grateful for the support of the Commonwealth of Virginia and Sussex County as we embark on a multi-year, multi-phased investment to bring more jobs, income and farm purchases to the region.”
The second phase of the project is an expansion of the Virginia Diner manufacturing plant, which will increase the company’s production capacity, improve operational efficiency and reduce costs, thereby improving product margins. Virginia Diner roasts an average of 4,200 pounds of peanuts per day, reaching over 7,000 pounds per day during the peak holiday season.
“Agriculture is Virginia’s largest industry, which means it is vital to our economy and the well-being of our residents,” Gov. Ralph Northam said. “Virginia Diner celebrates all the culinary traditions of our Southeastern Commonwealth, most notably, Virginia Peanuts. This expansion will not only bring new jobs and investment to Sussex County, but will create important new markets for Virginia peanuts and help secure the future of one of our most iconic businesses.
The Virginia Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services worked with Sussex County and the Sussex County Economic Development Authority to secure this project for the Commonwealth. Governor Northam has approved a $ 100,000 grant from the Governor’s Agriculture and Forestry Development Fund, which Sussex County will match through tax rebates and infrastructure improvements that will directly benefit Virginia Diner as well as two adjacent agriculture-related businesses.
“Peanuts have been an iconic part of Commonwealth agricultural history since we became the first state in the country to begin commercial peanut production nearly 200 years ago,” said the Secretary of Agriculture and at the Bettina Ring Forests. “Thanks to companies like Virginia Diner, the Commonwealth’s reputation as a producer of the best peanuts in the world continues to thrive. I am delighted that we are able to partner with Sussex County through the Agriculture and Forestry Development Fund to support this cornerstone of Virginia agriculture.
The company currently sources Virginia variety peanuts exclusively from Florida and, as part of this expansion, will create 16 new jobs and commit to sourcing 100% of its peanut purchases from the Commonwealth. which will result in the purchase of nearly four million pounds of peanuts in Virginia. hullers over the next four years. Virginia Diner’s gourmet peanuts business accounts for over 80% of the company’s annual sales, with half of their sales going through major retailers, with the remainder going directly to customers through mail order catalogs and the website. of the company.
“We are delighted that Virginia Diner has made the decision to continue to grow and prosper in the Gateway region,” said Keith Boswell, president and CEO of the Gateway Region Economic Development Organization of Virginia. “We look forward to continuing our strong partnership with the company and celebrating this next chapter in their growth for Sussex County. “