Commerce Secretary Gaunch listening tour travels to Wood County

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Doug Kreinik of Kreinik Manufacturing talks to West Virginia Commerce Secretary Ed Gaunch about the company's production of silk and metallic threads during the secretary's listening tour of businesses in Wood County.

CHARLESTON, W.Va. — Commerce Secretary Ed Gaunch visited Wood County this week as a part of a statewide listening tour focused on West Virginia businesses.

“I am impressed with the quantity and quality of businesses in this area,” Gaunch said. “They promote economic development on a regional level. That’s a practical approach that enables communities to achieve more by working together.”

Room to grow was among the topics that came up during the Wood County visits.

For Gaskets Packing & Seals, that takes the form of business opportunities both within the United States and Internationally, said General Manager James Boggs.

The message was “a better understanding of doing business in a global market as a small company,” Boggs said, “and how the current tariffs being applied to imports affect our ability to do business. The tour of our facility allowed the group a better understanding of how a small business can achieve long term success and growth through diversification of both products, markets, and customer base.’

The Commerce team also saw various gasket designs and materials used in industry applications.

Wincore, a manufacturer of custom doors and windows, is experiencing growing pains. In 2018, the business surged by 20% and the trend has continued in 2019. Wincore needs to expand its facility but available space is limited in its present location. So far, the company has not found the ideal spot to move or build. Wincore has a second production facility in Georgia where demand for hurricane-resistant products are strong.

Wincore employs 400 workers in Parkersburg. The Georgia facility employs 50. Both facilities can expect their workforce to expand soon, said Wincore Chief Operating Officer Brian Standley.

The West Virginia Development Office is working with Wincore to find the right spot to allow the company to continue to grow and prosper in the state, Gaunch said.

Another Parkersburg company, Mister Bee Potato Chips, already has expansion plans in the works, said owner Mary Anne Ketelsen. The company recently invested $2 million in new equipment that can fill bags more than twice as fast as before. To handle the resulting increase in business, the company will build a 10,000-squre-foot warehouse.

Also during the Wood County tour, Gaunch and the Commerce team called on:

Danser Inc., a metal fabrication company in Davisville, and Kreinik Manufacturing in Parkersburg, which produces silk and metallic threads.

The West Virginia Department of Commerce is in the process of planning additional listening tour events through the remainder of 2019.