Reaction to Allegheny Wood Products shutdown continues; resource fair planned for Preston County workers

U.S. NEWS


KINGWOOD, W.Va.  — Former employees of Allegheny Wood Products are now searching for their next opportunity after the company announced its closure last week.

The 50-year-old company employed more than 600 people and used the services of a few hundred additional contractors statewide. It’s biggest sawmill was in Kingwood.

Samantha Stone

The Preston County Economic Development Authority will host a resource fair next Tuesday at Kingwood Christian Fellowship on state Route 7 from 10 a.m. to 1:30 p.m.

Preston County Commissioner Samantha Stone said they had heard of the possibility of some changes but closing had never been in the conversation.

“The commission really was just as in shock as the normal person or even the employees,” Stone said. “I’ve heard speculation leading up that there could be some changes, but we never had it pegged for a closure.”

The owners of the company had been in talks to sell to the company when a refinancing deal fell through, leading to the abrupt closure.

“The hardest and most detrimental effect will be the loss of jobs here in our county,” Stone said. “The main mill there is operating; roughly between 75 and 100 employees have lost their jobs.”

Scotty Miley

In Grant County, where the company is headquartered in Petersburg, County Commissioner Scotty Miley said they learned of the closure when the workers did and were shocked. The company employed about 35 people there who worked in the office, warehouse, and kiln operation, but the loss of jobs won’t stop there, according to Miley.

“There are so many downstream positions; you have foresters, loggers, and truckers,” Miley said. “Everybody contributed to AWP, and it’s devastating.”

Miley said the Crites family, owners of the company, have been extremely supportive to the community over the years, and they are very thankful. He hopes there’s the possibility of a last-minute deal that could keep operations going.

“I’ve heard rumors of maybe an employee-owned company trying to take over operations,” Miley said earlier this week on MetroNews “Talkline.” “At this point, I think any idea or suggestion is on the table.”

Commissioner Stone said employers in the area are looking for workers, but many of those opportunities would force residents to either work outside the county or commute. She believes some of the workers could get jobs at Masontown-based Bionic Tire, a major recycler with plans to employ up to 50 by mid-2024.

“Our economic development director and I have heard from other employers that are hiring,” Stone said. “There are not necessarily employers in Preston County, but there are many jobs available.”



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