This morning the guest speaker at the Chamber of Commerce’s “Business at Breakfast” was Bengt Danielsson, the President of Swedwood North America. He was here to speak about why Danville, VA was chosen as the site for their new 1 million square foot manufacturing and distribution facility. He talked about the location and it’s proximity to the type of raw materials they need, as well as it’s proximity to the Ikea furniture stores(existing and planned) to whom they supply furniture. But, in my opinion, the best reason for Swedwood choosing Danville was this: He said that the presentation made to them by Danville, Pittsylvania County, and the state of Virginia was much more cohesive than their counterparts in North Carolina. Our city, county, and state were clearly working together so well that it was one of the major deciding factors! This is really… really encouraging to hear someone from the outside say. Because of this our area will benefit from almost 300 new, good paying jobs within the next several months.
Mr. Danielsson also spoke about how successful Ikea, the parent company of Swedwood, has been over it’s 60+ year history. They have proven themselves in Europe and hold a 15% market share. On the average they are opening one new Ikea store every two weeks in North America!
When the new Swedwood plant starts production next January 4, 2008, they will have lots of work ahead of them. Estimates are that, per year, our local Swedwood plant will produce over 6 million pieces of furniture! They also have room for growth. As their business grows there is room at the Danville site for two more production buildings.
Our local economic development departments should be very proud of their successful efforts to bring in another promising major employer. But it’s more than that. Kevin Martin from the city utilities pointed out that it is a community wide effort. You never know who might be sipping coffee next to you in the Yene Fusion Cafe. That was Mr. Danielsson’s first impression of Danville when he was scouting out potential locations. This is an exciting time for our community and we should be proud to be a part of it.