The Eastern Panhandle looks to receive an economic boost, thanks to a nationally-known automobile parts company’s decision to locate one of its plants in Jefferson County.

Speedway Motors, a manufacturer, retailer and distributor of high-quality automotive parts and racing products, announced on Monday their plans to open a 300,000 square-foot distribution and manufacturing center in Kearneysville that will employ 25 workers.

The new facility will be located at the Burr Business Park in the old Royal Vendors warehouse, which closed in June of 2019. At its peak, the Royal Vendors warehouse employed 300 workers.

The company worked with the West Virginia Development Office and the Jefferson County Development Authority to make this new manufacturing and distribution operation a reality for the Eastern Panhandle.

Dennis Jarvis, the executive director of the Jefferson County Development Authority, said the average salary at this site will be $36,000 and that this was a good fit for both parties.

“The 25 employees is a start,”Jarvis said. “This facility will be big enough to where they will have room to expand. We’re happy to have them here and I think they’re going to be a great corporate partner for the county.

“Speedway Motors is a family-owned operation committed to quality products and outstanding service.”

Clay Smith, president-owner of Speedway Motors, said Monday the new location cuts shipping times for customers on the East Coast, fulfilling the company’s promise of fast delivery.

“Since 1952, Speedway Motors has been committed to providing a broad selection of high-quality, affordable automotive parts and racing products delivered quickly, efficiently, and without any hassles,” Smith  said.

West Virgina Gov. Jim Justice lauded Speedway Motors’ decision to locate to Jefferson County.

“I’m so excited to welcome Speedway Motors to West Virginia, and to help them serve their global customer base from here,” Justice said in a news conference from Charleston on Monday. “West Virginia continues to show the world we are a great place to do business. This innovative, unique, family-owned manufacturing company is a wonderful addition to Jefferson County.”

Speedway Motors started out as a small auto parts shop in Lincoln, Neb., where its corporate offices are still located. Over the past 68 years, the company had grown to where it offers more than 250,000 products for race, street, muscle and rod, employing more than 450 people.

West Virginia Sen. Patricia Rucker said she looks forward to working with Speedway Motors officials as they prepare to begin operations in Kearneysville.

“I have to thank the Governor and the [West Virginia] Development Office for all of their cooperation and help to get this going, to get this done, and for including us in this wonderful day,” Rucker said.

They plan to begin hiring for the new facility in January and February. Positions will include human resources, warehouse and maintenance.

Del. Paul Espinosa said he’s glad Speedway Motors experience with Jefferson County has been a positive one.

“That’s really been our focus, under Governor Justice’s leadership, is to make West Virginia a better place to live, work, and raise a family,” Espinosa said, adding the company’s decision to locate in Jefferson County is an added bonus.

Justice said he’s well-aware of what it takes to operate a small business, since he’s run small businesses for his family before becoming governor.

“I’m a business guy. I’m not a politician,” Justice said. “I know what family businesses are, and I know what a commitment and how difficult of a decision it had to have been to come all this way to West Virginia.”

Justice also offered Smith and his company support as Speedway Motors joins the Jefferson County business community.

Justin Griffin contributed to this story.

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