Land sale key to Weirton bakery's $1.6 million expansion - WOWK 13 Charleston, Huntington WV News, Weather, Sports

Land sale key to Weirton bakery's $1.6 million expansion

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A five-acre parcel in Weirton's Three Springs Drive Business Park is going to be the new home of Barney's Bakery.

The West Virginia Economic Development Authority agreed Thursday, May 15, to sell Barney's owners Mary Jo and George Barney a roughly 5.5 acre parcel in the business park. The purchase price is $20,000 an acre, with the final amount contingent on a land survey.

EDA Director David Warner said once Barney's and Italy's Pietro Fiorentini closes, the park will be full.

“That's all of the property that WVEDA owns at Three Springs,” he said. “It's a very good day, for us to have sold or have contracts to sell all of that property.”

Barneys $1.6 million expansion will include a nearly 12,000 square foot plant, “a brand new facility with everything on one floor.”

“We'll have anywhere between 25 and 35 total employees when all is said and done,” George Barney said. “We wanted to stay in Weirton, we wanted to keep our business local. This is where it's from, it's where we live. We wanted to keep our business in the state. We could have gone other places, but this is a Weirton-based business and we wanted to keep jobs and employees here, where we're at.”

Barney's specializes in pepperoni rolls, nut rolls, apricot rolls and poppyseed rolls.

“We've always done direct store deliveries, we have truck routes, but we're getting more into shipping frozen,” Mary Jo Barney said. The new emphasis on frozen rolls means they need ample freezer space plus a loading dock; the expansion will give them both, plus easy access to U.S. 22.

“This is what we've always wanted to do,” she said. “Things change – when my dad had it, he made bread and rolls. My dad always wholesaled to grocery stores, but things change. Now they all have in-store bakeries and everybody's in a hurry – there's more competition now with bread. That's why we went in the direction of pepperoni rolls, poppyseed rolls, apricot rolls and holiday nut rolls. We want to do a couple things and do them well.”

Mrs. Barney's father, the late Joseph Hruschak, began the business in the mid-1940s, working out of a downtown Weirton storefront until 1966 when he moved it to Weirton Heights. She and her husband took over in 1988, and currently do direct-to-store deliveries throughout the three-state area, including locations in Morgantown and Clarksburg; Zanesville, Canton and Youngstown in Ohio; and Erie and as far east as Latrobe, Pa.

While they've been working with wholesalers for some time, she said they're also dealing with brokers. That means their product will be going to some big-name chains.

“We've been growing,” she said. “We did the changeover (from bread) around 2008, when we bought equipment. This is basically where we wanted to go with it.”

In addition to the WVEDA, she credited the Business Development Corporation and CHASE Bank for their help in cementing the deal.

BDC Executive Director said he likes the idea that the Barneys expansion means a product made in Weirton is getting regional, “and, who knows, even national” distribution.

“What I really enjoy about working with our partners in the Northern Panhandle is how quickly all of the key players in this project came together and assisted the Barneys in providing them with all of the resources they needed to not only keep their business in the City of Weirton, but to continue and grow and enjoy their success,” he said. “We're also very excited that a product made in the City of Weirton is getting regional and, who knows, even national distribution. It's nice to have the Weirton brand on a product that's made here and being distributed from here enjoy such success. It sends one more positive message to our region, and to the nation, that the City of Weirton is a great place to do business.”

The bakery currently employs about 25 people.