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Lumber company to invest $15M, create 42 jobs in Franklin County

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With state aid, a hardwood-cherry lumber manufacturer plans to breathe new life into a long-vacant Franklin County factory.

Over the next three years, Pennsylvania Cherry LLC will create 42 new jobs as it establishes operations at 6100 West Buchanan Trail in Mercersburg, company CFO Elbert Johnson said. He expects the company will be looking for employees in October to manufacture kiln-dried black cherry lumber beginning in January. 

Pennsylvania Chery's parent company - Neosho, Missouri-based Missouri Walnut LLC - purchased the former Foremost Industries Inc. modular-home manufacturing facility on March 30. Terms of the sale were not disclosed. 

Pennsylvania Cherry plans to invest more than $15 million in land, building development, equipment and job training. 

The state Department of Community and Economic Development provided $126,000 in job creation tax credits and a grant of $16,650 in funding for employee training through the Workforce and Economic Development Network of Pennsylvania.

L. Michael Ross, president of Franklin County Area Development Corp. said the project was coordinated between his group and the Governor’s Action Team. In addition to job creation, Ross said the project will also redevelop a property that has sat vacant for the last two years.

The property includes 52 acres and three large buildings. The main building is 257,000 square feet. 

Pennsylvania Cherry settled on Franklin County after a multi-state search, a company executive said 

"The choice of Pennsylvania, and specifically, Mercersburg as the location for this new facility, was based on the natural resources in this area that are critical to our success as well as the availability of multiple transportation options,” the company's CEO, Hong Hong Chen, said in a statement. 

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Emily Thurlow

Emily Thurlow

​Emily Thurlow covers York County​ for the Central Penn Business Journal. Have a tip? Drop her a line at ethurlow@cpbj.com. Follow her on Twitter @localloislane.

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Ritu November 15, 2018 3:16 am

This is a good business initiative which contributes towards the economy. Rather than letting the vacant lot sit abandoned, the abundance of storage can be put to good use.

Ritu November 13, 2018 2:20 am

I imagine that you would have to be looking at a very big increase in capacity if you need 42 new people on the job! I reckon that it will be a long time coming before we need that people in my business for storage solutions in Melbourne considering how easy it is for the business to run by itself! In this day of automation and artificial intelligence, jobs are really starting to get harder to come by so this expansion plan and job creation will probably be very welcome in the community!