CHARLESTON, W.Va. -- The state Economic Development Authority gave preliminary approval Thursday for two loans to the new chief executive officer of Mister Bee Potato Chip Co.
James Richard "Rick" Barton purchased the state's only manufacturer of potato chips after the Parkersburg company filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy in November.
A loan of nearly $250,000 will go toward the purchase of the existing building, and a $135,000 loan will be put toward the company's existing equipment as well as help to purchase new equipment.
The project is expected to add 16 jobs -- for a total of 50 employees -- in the next three years, according to the EDA.
Leo and Sara Klein started the company in 1951. It distributes in West Virginia, Ohio and eastern Kentucky.
Barton is president and CEO of Wincore Windows & Doors, a manufacturer of vinyl windows and doors also located in Wood County.
Board members also approved a resolution to submit an offer for the West Virginia Water Development Authority's condominium-style office space in the NorthGate Business Park, 180 Association Dr., which is for sale.
WDA outgrew the 8,600-square-foot building, Director Chris Jarrett said in a previous interview.
WDA is moving to a new $3.2 million, 14,000-square-foot building on the corner of Bullitt and Spring streets. Employees will move into the 17-room office building at 1009 Bullitt St. by September.
The asking price for WDA's old office space is $1.3 million, which also includes all the existing furniture and technology within the building.
EDA Executive Director David Warner said authority members will make an offer immediately and a decision could be made in three months.
EDA's current office space, also located at NorthGate Business Park, is 5,844-square-feet. Warner said he isn't sure if the EDA would move into the new office but having access to more space would help serve as a recruiting office, he said.
"Whatever space we don't occupy, there are other state agencies that will lease what space [is] available," Warner said Thursday. "We could grow into the additional space since there is more meeting room."
EDA purchased its current office space in 2002 for $792,000, Warner said.
Also on Thursday, Development Authority members:
• Insured an $850,000 bank loan for Home Run Properties, an inbound and outbound call center in Mount Hope, Fayette County. The loan insurance could permit the company to keep 100 jobs. The EDA applied the loan insurance for 59 percent -- or $500,000 -- of the bank loan, Warner said.
• Approved elected officers, which board members select in July every year.
President: David A. Warner; Vice President: Tony Benedetto; Vice President: Caren Wilcher; Secretary: Craig A. Griffith; Treasurer: Allen R. Butcher; Assistant Secretary: Beverly S. Dolin.
Reach Megan Workman at megan.work...@wvgazette.com or 304-348-5113.