Amthor in Gretna has announced an expansion that will create 60 jobs. Courtesy of Pittsylvania County.
Amthor in Gretna has announced an expansion that will create 60 jobs. Courtesy of Pittsylvania County.

Here’s a round-up of news briefs from around Southwest and Southside. Send yours for possible inclusion to

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Pittsylvania County manufacturer to expand

Amthor International has announced an expansion in Pittsylvania County. The nation’s largest manufacturer of truck-mounted tanks, Amthor is investing over $4 million to build a 33,000-square-foot facility in the Gretna Industrial Park, according to a release from Pittsylvania County. The expansion will create 60 new jobs, the county said.

A fourth-generation family-owned company, Amthor manufactures
truck-mounted tanks, including uses for refined fuel, propane, mining, vacuum and
septic, portable restroom, water, well-drilling and construction industries. Amthor
International has been in Gretna since 1992, and with this third expansion, will
employ over 200 people. Their second expansion in 2018 resulted in the company
relocating its corporate headquarters to the Gretna plant while investing over $2.5
million at the existing plant and announcing the creation of 90 new positions over the
next five years, many of which are actively being recruited.

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Deadline for Washington County Business Challenge is January 5

The Tenth Annual Washington County Business Challenge, a  competitive six-week training program, will begin on January 17, 2023, and award over $36,000 in funds and services to startups and expanding businesses within the towns of Abingdon, Damascus, Glade  Spring, and Washington County, Virginia.  

The Challenge’s mission is to foster small business development and job opportunities around  Washington County. Over 90 business owners have participated in this program over the past nine years, with 73% still in business within Washington County, resulting in job growth and increased tax revenue for  the locality. 

The program training sessions will be held virtually beginning on January 17. The Business Challenge is a collaborative effort of the Washington County Chamber of Commerce, Virginia Community Capital and the Virginia Highlands Small Business Incubator. There will be two (2) $5,000 first place awards, two (2) $2,500 second-place awards, and two (2) $500 third-place awards.  

Other awards are listed below: 

• First Community Bank will award $1,500 for the Best Pitch. 

• Comfort Suites will award $1,000 for the Most Knowledgeable Business Idea.

• Virginia Highlands Small Business Incubator will award half-price rent for one (1) year for the 1st Place Start-Up Business and 1st Place Existing Business winners. 

• The Washington County Chamber of Commerce will award four (4) one (1) year Chamber  memberships to all first and second place winners. 

• Food City will provide printing services and the Bristol Herald Courier will serve as an annual publicity sponsor. All in-kind sponsors have been donors since 2014.  

• Mike Spiegler, principal partner in Spiegler and Blevins CPAs, will contribute one (1) year of CPA services ($10,000 value). 

• John Martin, partner at Penn Stuart, will contribute the business start-up formation documents, (LLC, B Corp, partnership, C Corp, etc.) to the winning contestant ($3,000 value). 

Details, guidelines, and applications may be found at:

All past participants are eligible to attend the classes free of charge and/or to participate as a contestant if they have not been a first-place winner in the past. Everyone interested in expanding or starting a business in the towns within Washington County are encouraged to enter.  

The 10th Annual Business Plan Challenge registration deadline is January 5, 2023. The classes begin on January 17, 2023. If you have questions, please feel free to contact (276) 628-8141 or (276) 492-2060 to receive more information. 

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Front Row (L to R): Marty Bowers – Treasurer; Vanessa Jones – Parliamentarian; Jackie Peale – Newsletter, Vickie Larrington – Vice President, Sandy Williams – Membership, Teri Sprague – Programs. Back Row (L to R): Linda King – Membership, Penny Lopez – Secretary, Scott Bull – President, Jane Missel – Special interest Groups, Skip Larrington – Communications. Not Pictured: Cindy Stair – Programs. Courtesy of SML Newcomers.

Smith Mountain Lake Newcomers elect board members

The Smith Mountain Lake Newcomers club has elected board members for 2023 (see photo above).

SML Newcomers is a social club whose sole purpose is to promote and encourage friendship and social activities among residents in the area. The SML Newcomers was formed in January 1996 expressly to welcome new people to the lake area. More than 80 people have been added to the 200-member roster since the pandemic began in 2020.

SML Newcomers meets monthly at 10:30 AM, the second Monday of the month, at Trinity Ecumenical Parish. All are welcome to attend. Meetings always have a theme / program and are usually over about noon.

Dues: $20 annually ($25 first year includes a membership badge)

Membership Contact:

Other Questions: