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Despite the economic hardships experienced across the nation as a result of Covid-19, the Bedford County Economic Development Authority and Office of Economic Development still found some accomplishments to celebrate in 2020.

Here’s our top 10 list:

1.     Blue Ridge Optics, an industry leader in laser optics and thin film coatings, announced in February it would expand again in Bedford, adding 10 new jobs and more than $695,000 in new equipment and real estate upgrades.

2.    Custom Truck One Source announced in February it would double production in Bedford County, investing $2.6 million and adding 61 new jobs over the next three years.

3.     Elba Butcher Shoppe announced in March it would open a store in Bedford in 2020, leasing the former Vista Food grocery store. Store managers Stephanie and Wendell Dawson feature their signature, custom cut meats, fresh fruits and vegetables, and standard grocery store items that customers love.

4.     S.J. Neathawk Lumber Company, Inc. announced in April it would locate to Montvale and open a building materials showroom and warehouse, adding 10 new jobs and more than $1 million in investment. The company, based out of Lewisburg, WV, purchased the former Butterfield’s property located at 1049 Beale Trail Road, and opened a couple months later, as COVID-19 surged. Since then, they have announced another expansion coming to the site and even more jobs.

5.     Bedford County EDA announced in June it would offer a $300 reimbursable grant for COVID-19 related expenses to dozens of local companies that had to purchase PPE and cleaning supplies related to the COVID-19 crisis. We also worked with the Central Virginia Workforce Investment Board to provide Rapid Response funding to seven companies early in the pandemic who needed special assistance.

6.     Bedford County launched a $1 million Back to Business Grant Program in August to assist Bedford County businesses that experienced economic losses from COVID-19 closures and disruptions. The grants that ranged from $5,000-$15,000 provided more than 100 small businesses with a lifeline during the toughest period of the pandemic. Additionally, the Bedford County Board of Supervisors assisted 38 non-profit organizations with similar grants.

7.     Sentry Equipment & Erectors, Inc. celebrated 40 years in August, and invested more than $2 million and added up to 15 new jobs as part of a business expansion. The company has grown from a small storefront with a few employees to a world class manufacturing facility supporting hundreds of employees and tens of millions of dollars in sales.

8.     LiteSheet Solutions launched a LED UV-C disinfecting cabinet in August. It disinfects critical gear, equipment and personal items to guard against COVID-19 and other diseases. The Office of Economic Development worked with state and regional partners to assist the company in getting proof of concept acceptance on the product, as well as identifying or providing grants that would help.

9.    Bedford County launched a $250,000 CARES assistance program for meat processors in October to increase food security in the community. The cash grants assisted the local meat processing industry in the form of reimbursements for eligible equipment and infrastructure purchases. Four farm processing establishments were assisted in expanding local food supply operations.

10.    Innerspec Technologies broke ground in December on a 10,000 square foot Robotic Non-Destructive Test (NDT) Center to be built adjacent to the existing site in Forest. The $1 million+ Center will be equipped with a state-of-the-art twin robotic cell to provide inspection services to clients, and perform R&D on the latest NDT techniques. Coleman-Adams Construction will build the new facility.

Thank you to all of the Bedford County businesses that have held strong and persevered this year amidst a time of unrest. May the new year bring promise for a healthier world and stronger economy.