HUNTINGTON - West Edge Factory in the Westmoreland area of Huntington celebrated a milestone on Tuesday afternoon with a ribbon-cutting ceremony for the new West Edge Moses AutoMall Business Development Center that will be located in a 5,000-square-foot portion of basement of the building.
"We are opening this business development center thanks to the support of Moses Auto Mall of Huntington," said Brandon Dennison, Coalfield Development CEO.
Moses Auto Mall of Huntington made a substantial donation of $20,000 to Coalfield Development's West Edge Capital Campaign in March, Dennison said.
"This donation leads the way as Coalfield Development seeks additional donations to support infrastructure improvement and fortification of the 96,000 square feet West Edge Factory, formerly Corbin Factory located at 1040 Vernon St.," he said.
Jason Moses, executive manager of Moses AutoMall in Huntington, said his wife, Halcyon, has been very supportive of Coalfield Development's platform.
"This business development center represents our core values, which is to help others achieve their dreams," he said.
"West Edge Factory is designed to empower those displaced by the economy, those who've fallen through the cracks of the education system and those who do not have a supportive family environment," Halcyon Moses said. "It is easy to lose hope when constantly beaten down, and too many West Virginians are losing hope - but we believe hope can be rekindled. The donation made represents an investment in our people and our community. We hope it encourages others to do the same."
West Edge Factory is part of Rediscover Appalachia, an arts and culture based social enterprise of Coalfield Development. Dennison said the space is being transformed into a community hub for artisans and creative businesses.
"West Edge Factory will have 20,000 square feet of community meeting space, a theater, a solar installation learning center and practice roof, an agricultural aggregation and distribution facility and ample tenant space available," Dennison said. "We have been slowing phasing in the grand vision and today was a big step toward making this dream a reality."
Dennison says the goal of West Edge Factory is to diversify the region's economy, help entrepreneurs realize their dreams and become a job creation engine and training center.
"In the first year after the physical improvements are completed, the West Edge Factory will lead to the creation of at least 35 jobs, and 200 professional certifications in enterprise sectors designed to diversify the regional economy which has been hard hit by the declines in the coal mining industry," he said. "Within nine years, it will create 320 new jobs, graduate 215 crew members and issue more than 700 professional certificates to increase earning potential in a variety of sustainable and lucrative job sectors."
Dennison says the West Edge Factory renovation is an estimated $15 million project.
The event also featured several community and political leaders, including representatives from U.S. Senator Shelley Moore Capito, R-WV, and U.S. Rep. Evan Jenkins offices, as well as Huntington Mayor Steve Williams and other dignitaries.
"This new business development center is helping us change our culture from finding a job to creating a job," Williams said. "We are so proud of all the work done by Coalfield Development Corporation and so very thankful to the Moses family for their continued support of the communities in our region."
"Thanks to the Moses family and Brandon Dennison for their vision to make the West Edge Moses AutoMall Business Development Center a reality," Michael Chirico said in a statement from Congressman Jenkins. "As a member of the House Appropriations Committee, I will continue to be supportive of the efforts of Coalfield Development."
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