Trucking Terminal Is Planned For PE

Published 4:30 pm Thursday, September 2, 2010

PRINCE EDWARD – County Supervisors took action at their August meeting that could pave the way for a trucking terminal and 25 new jobs.

Supervisors, following closed session, authorized the IDA to execute an agreement with Tharpe Trucking and approved the agreement.

“We're looking to expand in Prince Edward County,” Tim Tharpe, vice president of the family business, J. R. Tharpe Trucking Company Inc. told The Herald.

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J. R. Tharpe Trucking operates out of Burkeville.

Tharpe, according to County Economic Director Sharon Carney, is purchasing 16 acres of land on Rt. 460 in the Rice area (off of the West bound lane), plans to build a new shop and provide 25 new jobs.

“He's not closing that (the Burkeville facility),” Ms. Carney said. “This is just an expansion.”

The property is currently zoned for the planned use.

Tharpe noted that they have been in business for 40 years operating out of Burkeville. They currently run 50 trucks (primarily dump trucks), operating mostly in Virginia, although they are licensed for other states.

While the bulk of their business is hauling for Luck Stone, Tharpe cited, they are very diversified – hauling “basically anything and everything.” In addition to hauling, Tharpe also said they sell sand, screened topsoil, fill dirt, mulch, and landscaping rock.

“…We've been looking (at) expanding for the last two years. We just didn't jump up and do this overnight,” Tharpe said. “And this location is just agood central location for our business.”

Especially, he added, with Farmville and Prince Edward County seeming to be growing.

Luck Stone's planned quarry operation in Prince Edward, though it's not the primary or only reason, is a positive factor with the expansion. (While it will have nothing to do with the quarry operation, Tharpe owns the property, which will be leased to Luck Stone.)

Tharpe estimated construction would begin next spring.

J. R. Tharpe Trucking, in addition to the current Burkeville facility, has a resale yard in Drakes Branch. They also plan to stock and sell products at the Prince Edward site such as sand, topsoil, gravel, fill dirt, mulch and landscaping rock.

While Tharpe notes the local market is very important to them, “We're not totally reliant on the local market. Basically…these trucks are mobile and we go…wherever the work is at,” he said.

Tharpe estimated that about half of their work is local.

They will use local employees and house the trucks in Prince Edward, he said.

“…I am (excited about the opportunity),” Tharpe said. “I really am. I think it's a good move for us, I think it's good for the area…Any job opportunities this day and time, I think it's a definite…plus.”

He also offered that they will be a “very good neighbor” to those around them.

The County has an incentive grant package similar to what has been provided to other firms locating in Prince Edward in the past. It links the firm achieving specific goals and the County offering grants and other assistance.

According to County paperwork, The firm is expected to make a minimum of $1.5 million real estate investment within 30 months, create 25 full-time equivalent jobs within 30 months and maintain the jobs for a minimum of a calendar quarter, make a minimum personal property investment of $1 million and a machinery and tools investment of $125,000.

The County, for its part, has authorized the IDA to offer the firm or its assigned (to be determined on investment) a real property investment grant of 50 percent of the real estate taxes for a period of five years, a machinery and tools investment grant of 50 percent of the machinery and tools taxes for five years; a personal property investment grant of $1.50 discount of personal property taxes for five years; waiver of building permit fees for locating a business in the County's enterprise zone; and agrees to apply to the Tobacco Commission's revitalization opportunity fund grant on behalf of J. R. Tharpe Trucking or its assigns.

County incentives (which are reimbursements) are projected at about $59,000 over five years. Potential state incentives are estimated at $180,000. The IDA will facilitate grants.

County incentives, Ms. Carney would later explain, are factored on the amount of investment and jobs created.

The agreement still must run through the IDA, which administers grants.

In addition to the Burkeville site, Tharpe Trucking also has a river sand operation in Charlotte County and snow removal contracts.