packaging company sets up shop in former Coca-Cola bottling plant | West Virginia News

By DAVID KIRK, Times West-Virginian

FAIRMONT, W.Va (AP) – When Josh Pearson attended Fairmont State University, he walked past the vacant Coca-Cola bottling plant almost every day.

“I had to drive this place a thousand times, always knowing it was the coke factory,” Pearson said. “Being in it now is surreal, it’s exciting to have a successful business and to put it right down the street where you lived in college. “

Pearson is the owner of Mountaineer Packaging, a Charleston-based wholesale packaging distributor. Most recently he moved his office north to Morgantown, down the river on the east side of Fairmont.

When the business expanded to Morgantown, Pearson knew he would need more space eventually, but was unsure how quickly the business would expand into the new area.

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“When I rented the facility in Morgantown, I told the owner I would need more space in about six months,” said Pearson. “It only took about four months. When we needed more space … everyone would tell me to look at the old coke factory. … This is where we ended up.

On Tuesday, Mountaineer Packaging employees and members of the Fairmont business community gathered at the 20,000 square foot facility on Morgantown Avenue to hold a ribbon-cutting ceremony and welcome the company to the city .

But while the company is new to the city, many businesses in north-central West Virginia are already customers of Pearson’s packaging products.

T&L Hot Dogs, Yann’s Hot Dogs, Oliverio’s Peppers, Novelis Industries and several other local businesses rely on Mountaineer Packaging, and that need is even greater since COVID-19 has caused a multitude of supply chain issues.

“Just look at any hot article and all the supply chain backups we have right now,” said Tina Shaw, president of the Marion County Chamber of Commerce. “To have someone on site providing this type of product and the help that all of North Central West Virginia needs in the worst possible way is a huge plus. “

One of the goals of Mountaineer Packaging is to give local businesses one less concern. Packaging materials are one of the products hardest hit by supply chain safeguards. Person is therefore trying to fill this void.

Many of the larger packaging companies are occupied by big box buyers such as Amazon and Walmart, according to Pearson, leaving small businesses behind.

“What we’re doing for the customer is eliminating these supply chain issues,” said Pearson. “That way they can worry about their product and try to get it out. This is the role we play for them.

Shaw said one of the most exciting things for her is seeing the old Coca-Cola factory, which has gone unused for years, finally housing a tenant – and one that plays such an important role in the community of Coca-Cola. local business.

“When I was little they bottled coke products here. It was a real manufacturing facility from start to finish, ”Shaw said. “It has been vacant for years, but now it has new life. They have done a fabulous job of renovating and renovating. This new business deals with a ton of other local businesses, so it’s a business-to-business interaction at the local level. “

Pearson and his wife Lauren are both Fairmont State graduates, and both felt right at home returning to this friendly town. The Chamber of Commerce, the Marion County Regional Development Corp. and other organizations gave them a warm welcome, Pearson said.

“Anytime we have a new business in Marion County we are thrilled,” Shaw said. “And the great thing about a local business like Mountaineer Packaging is that they employ locally and spend their money locally. We are delighted to have them.

And the Pearsons are excited to be up and running locally, they said.

“Fairmont is exactly as I remember it,” Pearson said. “We are happy to be here.

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Barbara M. Stokes