Gov. Ralph Northam announced on Wednesday that Traeger Grills, manufacturer of the world’s top-selling wood pellet grill and signature hardwood pellets, will invest nearly $3 million to establish a new grill pellet manufacturing operation in Wythe County. The company’s new location will purchase forest products sourced exclusively from Virginia’s robust hardwood resource and hire 15 new employees.
“Thanks to companies like Traegar Grills, forestry contributes $21 billion to our economy each year and supports thousands of quality jobs across our Commonwealth,” Northam said. “Our Administration remains focused on supporting our diverse hardwood forests, ensuring they continue to provide a sustainable and natural raw material for manufacturers. We thank Traeger Grills for their commitment to this shared goal and the economic impact they will have on Southwest Virginia and the Commonwealth.”
Traeger Grills will partner with Rural Retreat’s Musser Lumber, a previous recipient of a Governor’s Agriculture and Forestry Industries Development Fund award, to source Virginia-grown hardwood residual products. Musser Lumber recently expanded its ability to make customized blends of dried residual products from different hardwood species, allowing Traeger to manufacture a variety of flavored grill pellets suited for all types of cooking. At full production, Traeger expects to purchase several million pounds of hardwood products each month, creating an important new market for Virginia’s hardwood sawmills and forest landowners.
“Traeger’s collaboration and co-location with Musser Lumber is a perfect example of how we can find creative ways to add value to Virginia’s forest products,” said Secretary of Agriculture and Forestry Bettina Ring. “I am pleased that we could partner with Wythe County to welcome Traeger Grills into our thriving forest products community and look forward to many years of working together to support this essential industry.”
“We pride ourselves on providing customers with premium hardwood pellets for all their Traeger cooking needs,” said Jim Hardy, Chief Supply Chain Officer at Traeger. “This opportunity to work collaboratively with Governor Northam’s team is exciting and we look forward to welcoming Virginia to the Traegerhood.”
“Wythe County’s vibrant forest products sector is growing thanks to the addition of a state-of-the-art hardwood pellet mill being opened in Rural Retreat by Traeger Grills,” said David A. Kause, Chairman of the Joint Industrial Development Authority of Wythe County, Wytheville, and Rural Retreat. “Traeger joins venerable enterprises like Musser Lumber, a company whose long-term success helped enable this advancement. The Joint Industrial Development Authority is pleased to support this industry leader as it makes a notable investment and creates jobs in our region.”
“On behalf of the Wythe County Board of Supervisors and people of Wythe County, I welcome Traeger Pellet Grills to Rural Retreat,” said Chairman of the Wythe County Board of Supervisors Brian W. Vaught. “This world-class company recognizes that our area is a great place to do business and we look forward to a long and successful collaboration with them. It is rewarding to know that the pandemic did not tamp out the vitality of innovative companies like Traeger.”
The Commonwealth is partnering with Wythe County and the Joint Industrial Development Authority of Wythe County, Wytheville, and Rural Retreat on this project through the Governor’s Agriculture and Forestry Industries Development Fund, which is administered by the Virginia Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services. Northam approved a $75,000 grant from the AFID Fund to secure the project for Virginia, which Wythe County will match with local funds.
“Traeger is a company with a tremendous reputation and we are thrilled with their decision to fulfill their manufacturing operation needs with a new facility in Wythe County,” said Senator Todd E. Pillion. “Even better, they are partnering with a great local operation—Musser Lumber—to meet their production needs. Announcements like this underscore the value and impact of the General Assembly’s commitment to funding the AFID Fund.”
“We welcome Traeger to Wythe County and are very pleased they chose to partner with Musser Lumber to locate their manufacturing facility here,” said Delegate Jeffrey L. Campbell. “The pro-business climate, favorable tax structure, and outstanding workforce in Wythe County continue to attract new investment and jobs and I look forward to the company’s continued success.”