WEIRTON - A long-standing local business is set to move - having grown too big for its existing location.
Barney's Bakery, currently on Pennsylvania Avenue, soon will begin construction on a new facility in the Three Springs Business Park, allowing for more room and the creation of new jobs.
Owners George and Mary Jo Barney explained the business has been experiencing a great deal of growth in recent years since switching their focus in 2008 to a more diverse product, including pepperoni rolls, nut rolls, apricot rolls and poppyseed rolls.
Though covered in trees now, in the near future this 5-acre plot of land in the Three Springs Business Park will be the new home of Barney's Bakery, which is set to undergo a $1.6 million expansion project, moving from its current location on Pennsylvania Avenue and creating up to 10 new jobs. -- Craig Howell
"We've increased our sales and our area of travel," explained George Barney, who noted the existing building created some obstacles to their growth, with employees working on two floors and the lack of a loading dock to ship their product.
That's where the Business Development Corp. entered the picture.
"They were busting at the seams and needed to get out of their space," BDC Executive Director Pat Ford explained.
Ford said discussions began approximately nine months ago, and initially focused on existing buildings in the area. Eventually, the idea of building a new plant was brought up.
Working with representatives of the West Virginia Development Office, the West Virginia Economic Development Authority, First Microloan, Grae-Con Construction and Chase Bank, a plan has been formulated to construct the new state-of-the-art bakery on a 5-acre plot of land in the Three Springs Business Park near the existing rue21 distribution center and Ocean Air International.
Mary Jo Barney explained her father, the late Joseph Hruschak, started the bakery shortly after World War II. It operated in downtown Weirton until 1966 when it moved to the Weirton Heights portion of the city. The Barneys took over the business in 1988.
Currently, they provide direct-to-store deliveries throughout the Tri-State Area and have begun working with brokers in addition to wholesalers.
"We have the contacts now to get into some big chains," she said.
According to the Barneys, the $1.6 million expansion will allow the bakery to keep up with its orders, while also streamlining its distribution process with the addition of freezers and a loading dock as well as easier highway access.
In addition, it will allow for the retention of the existing 25 jobs and the creation of up to 10 new positions.
"We're hoping to add a second shift," Mary Jo Barney explained.
Ford said he is excited to have been able to assist the Barneys with the project, and looks forward to their continued success.
"This is the first time we've really worked with a home-grown industry," Ford said, noting the expansion of Barney's Bakery has the potential to elevate the visibility of the business and the Weirton community across the country. "That product, that they're proud of, will have the Weirton name on it."
The deal also will mean the final piece of land for industrial space at the business park has been filled.
"The industrial portion is now complete," Ford said.
The BDC currently is working to finalize a deal with Italy-based Pietro Fiorentini to locate a $9 million facility at the business park.
(Howell can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org, and followed via Twitter @CHowellWDT)