RICHMOND—Governor Ralph Northam today announced that Ashton Lewis Holding Company (“Ashton Lewis”) will invest $11 million to establish a new specialty southern yellow pine sawmill in Ruther Glen, impacting 44 jobs in Caroline County. Ashton Lewis has a reputation for producing quality pine products both in the United States and internationally and sources the highest value pine logs for the production of various lumber and wood products. The company has committed to source 90 percent of all pine lumber purchases from Virginia forestland owners.
“I’m thrilled to welcome Ashton Lewis to Virginia, where forestry is our third-largest private industry,” said Governor Northam. “Ashton Lewis’ commitment to Caroline County will not only preserve quality jobs for hardworking Virginians and bring valuable investment to this rural locality, but will continue to provide markets for our forestland owners.”
The company recently acquired the assets of W.T. Jones & Sons, Inc., a family-owned, pine sawmill established in 1970, saving 44 jobs in Caroline County.
“The Commonwealth has nearly 16 million acres of forestland, and the forest products industry is a vital component of our economy,” said Secretary of Agriculture and Forestry Bettina Ring. “We look forward to working with Ashton Lewis to further grow markets for private landowners and support Virginia’s forest products industry.”
The Virginia Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services (VDACS) worked with Caroline County to secure the project for the Commonwealth. Governor Northam approved a $50,000 grant from the Governor’s Agriculture and Forestry Industries Development (AFID) Fund to assist Caroline County with the project. Funding and services to support the company’s employee training activities will be provided through the Virginia Jobs Investment Program administered by the Virginia Economic Development Partnership (VEDP).
“Ashton Lewis is a great addition to Caroline County,” said Chairman of the Caroline County Board of Supervisors Jeff Sili. “As a leader in the sawmill industry, Ashton Lewis will bring needed improvements to the existing operations of the W.T. Jones sawmill assets, resulting in jobs for our citizens and revenue for the County. Caroline remains an ideal location for business investment.”
“Ashton Lewis’ purchase of the assets of the W.T. Jones sawmill will preserve one of the longest established employers in the district,” said Floyd Thomas, Caroline County Supervisor for the Mattaponi District. “The mill will have a stronger future with Ashton Lewis’ investment of a planned $11 million in facility upgrades. The Mattaponi District and Caroline County look forward to their long and prosperous future.”
“We are pleased to see Ashton Lewis taking over the former W.T. Jones & Sons sawmill in Caroline County and thank the company for retaining and creating jobs in rural Virginia,” said Secretary of Commerce and Trade Brian Ball. “It’s also great to see that the company will be purchasing a majority of its logs from Virginia landowners.”
“Keeping the employees of W.T. Jones & Sons on the job is a smart move by Ashton Lewis and great news for Caroline County,” said Senator Ryan T. McDougle. “Ashton Lewis’ commitment to source pine purchases in Virginia is a boost to our forestry industry. Caroline County is a great place to do business and Ashton Lewis, being the gold standard in appearance lumber for nearly 70 years, will make a great addition to our region.”