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Scholle IPN 'doubles down' with $31.1 million expansion in Smyth County

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Governor visits Chilhowie for expansion

Virginia Gov. Glenn Youngkin (left) presents Scholle IPN Director of Operations and Quality Gil Graham and Plant Manager Ricardo Bernardo with a Virginia flag to fly at the Chilhowie facility during Wednesday’s announcement about a plant expansion and the addition of 75 new jobs.

CHILHOWIE — Scholle IPN increased its investment in Chilhowie and the Smyth County economies Wednesday by “doubling down” with a $31.1 million expansion that will bring 75 new jobs to the area.

“I am so excited that we get to be here today to talk about a huge commitment by one of your beloved employers already doubling down in Smyth County,” Virginia Gov. Glenn Youngkin told those gathered at the announcement of the company’s increased commitment that includes expanding its facility be 73,000 square feet. “This is not a foot in the pond; this is jumping in deep and going under water.”

The Virginia plant competed with Georgia and Illinois operations for the project, according to a release from Youngkin’s office. Smyth County, the Mount Rogers Regional Partnership and the Town of Chilhowie worked with the Virginia Economic Development Partnership to secure the project in Virginia. Youngkin previously approved a $600,000 grant from the Commonwealth’s Opportunity Fund to assist the county with the project.

Headquartered in Illinois, Scholle IPN is one of the world’s largest packaging manufacturers, specializing in packaging solutions like barrier films, ergonomic fitments and universal connectors for bag-in-box fountain drink dispensing systems.

Opened in 1997 with a 100,000-square-foot facility that produced packaging for the soft drink industry, the Chilhowie plant underwent its first investment cycle in 2019, according to Gil Graham, the company’s director of operations and quality for North America.

The 2019 expansion saw the plant grow to 150,000 square feet and employ nearly 200 people. Today, the company’s workers produce flexible packaging for things like soft drinks, cleaning products and motor oil, and serve big-name businesses like the Kraft Heinz Company, Pepsi and ECO Labs.

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