For Immediate Release: April 27, 2018
Contacts: Office of the Governor: Ofirah Yheskel, Ofirah.Yheskel@governor.virginia.gov | Virginia Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services: Elaine Lidholm, Elaine.Lidholm@vdacs.virginia.gov, (804) 786-7686 | Whitley Peanut Factory, Inc.: Todd Smith, tsmith@whitleyspeanut.com, (804) 642-7688

Governor Northam Announces Agribusiness Expansion, New Jobs in Gloucester County

Whitley Peanut Factory, Inc. to Expand Production; Increase Purchases of Virginia-Grown Peanuts

RICHMOND – Governor Ralph Northam today announced that Whitley Peanut Factory, Inc., a Virginia’s Finest Company since 1992, will invest nearly $530,000 to expand its operation in Gloucester County. This growth will allow Whitley’s Peanuts to increase production, improve operational efficiency and achieve an even higher level of food safety certification. To support this expansion, the company will create five new jobs and increase their annual purchases of Virginia-grown peanuts by 36 percent to over 600,000 pounds over the next three years.

“Whitley’s Peanut Factory is a great example of a family-owned company growing and thriving in Virginia,” said Governor Northam. “I’m pleased the Commonwealth has been able to support this company’s success over the years through our excellent business climate, a high-quality workforce and marketing assistance like the Virginia’s Finest Program. Today, Whitley’s Peanut Factory is poised to write the next chapter of its story in Gloucester County.” 

Whitley’s Peanuts made a name for itself with their use of high-quality, super extra-large Virginia peanuts, which are given a “home-cooked” flavor by slow-roasting in small batches, ensuring high quality and an authentic taste. By relying on its reputation for quality and customer service, as well as its long history as a family-owned and -operated business, Whitley’s Peanut Factory has been able to succeed in an increasingly competitive marketplace. This reputation is further bolstered by its connection to Virginia and its authentic, small-batch production. In addition to a large wholesale and mail order business, the company also operates retail stores in Williamsburg and Richmond, along with its original location on Highway 17 in Gloucester. 

“In addition to the new investment and jobs being created, this expansion will have a positive impact on Virginia’s peanut industry, a legendary product of the Commonwealth,” said Bettina Ring, Secretary of Agriculture and Forestry. “I am proud to support a company like Whitley’s Peanut Factory, which so highly values its customers, its employees and which is so totally committed, in both word and action, to growing in Gloucester County and to supporting Virginia agriculture, ensuring that the positive economic impact of this expansion is felt throughout the region.”

“Our Whitley’s team is very excited to have received these grant funds from the AFID program along with the assistance of the Gloucester County Economic Development Authority (EDA).  Both of these grants will allow us to continue to move forward with the build out of an existing offsite warehouse, completion of a strict certified Quality Assurance program (SQF 2), and new processing equipment,” stated Todd Smith, Owner and President of Whitley Peanut Factory, Inc. “For over 32 years, we hire more employees each year, buy more Virginia-grown peanuts and increase our production volume to better serve our customers.”

Whitley’s Peanut Factory has celebrated over 30 years of success in Gloucester County and the company produces some of Virginia’s finest peanuts,” said Christopher A. Hutson, Chairman of the Gloucester County Board of Supervisors. “We are pleased to support their expansion and appreciate their continued commitment to our community.”

The Commonwealth is partnering with Gloucester County and Whitley’s Peanut Factory on this project through the Governor’s Agriculture and Forestry Industries Development (AFID) Fund, which is administered by the Virginia Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services. Governor Northam approved a $20,000 grant from the AFID Fund to assist with the project, which Gloucester County will match with local funds. This is the first AFID award to the Gloucester County and the first Governor’s discretionary award made to the county in more than twenty years.

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