Wythe County is home to PepsiCo’s eighth Gatorade facility. The 950,000 sq ft Gatorade facility is the anchor of Progress Park. With the sports drink and flavored water markets growing at phenomenal rates, PepsiCo began searching in 2004 for a site for its eighth facility to serve the Mid-Atlantic market. The company considered sites in Virginia, Maryland, Delaware, North Carolina, and South Carolina. Originally, Wythe County was not the preferred Virginia locality in the competition. However, through efforts of Wythe County, Town of Wytheville, and the Joint IDA that focused on key needs of the facility, Progress Park emerged as the leading Virginia site. Despite stiff competition from other states, PepsiCo chose the central location afforded by Progress Park at the intersection of I-77 and I-81. Announced by Governor Warner in a June 2005 press release, the Gatorade facility employs approximately 300 people and represents over $140 million capital. The new Blue Ridge Facility employees the world’s leading hot-fill production equipment. The plant has the capacity to double from four to eight production lines, nearly doubling employment, investment, and building size. The Blue Ridge Gatorade facility recently received gold certification under the US Green Building Council’s LEED (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design) certification program. The Blue Ridge Plant is the world’s largest food and beverage facility to have received this recognition.
Gatorade President Chuck Maniscalco stated, in Governor Warner’s press release, “We are excited to award Virginia as the site of our newest plant. The Wytheville area is a wonderful community and an important transportation hub to the Mid-Atlantic and Ohio Valley. We weighed many economic, community and resource factors in our final decision, and we are happy to call the Commonwealth home to our eighth manufacturing and distribution facility.”
To serve the Gatorade facility, plastic bottle maker Amcor PET Packaging, part of Amcor Limited of Australia, located to Progress Park Lot 18, adjacent to Gatorade, constructing a 700,000 sq ft facility. In a January 2006 press release by Governor Warner, the Amcor facility produces PET (polyethylene terephthalate) bottles for Gatorade and other customers. The Amcor facility created 144 new jobs and represented a $105 million investment in the local economy.
Combined, Gatorade and Amcor PET Packaging represent 500 new jobs and $0.25 billion of new investment in Wythe County. Both companies qualify for incentives by locating to a Virginia Enterprise Zone.