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Pasta company coming to Charleroi

Jim Ference | The Valley Independent
The old Sparkle grocery store at the Chamber Plaza in Charleroi. On Monday April 29,2013.

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Thursday, May 2, 2013, 12:01 a.m.
 

A former grocery storefront in downtown Charleroi – vacant for the past five years – will soon house a food packaging plant.

Quality Pasta Company will be moving in to the former Sparkle store, located in the Chamber Plaza.

An investment group based in Chicago is bringing the new company to the Valley.

The group was steered toward the Charleroi site by longtime area businessman Dave Barbe, who previously owned Quality Driven Copack.

That company, located on Route 88 in Charleroi, did packaging and processing of frozen dinners and sandwiches for retail stores. Barbe sold the business in 2010.

His family also operated a Coca-Cola bottling plant from the 1950s through the 1980s in the Speers Industrial Park.

Quality Pasta Company will package “value-added pasta products” for various private labels for the all of the major grocery stores, Barbe said. The dry pasta products will be packaged in bowls, boxes and cups.

The investment group was looking for a site in the region and had offers for other locations in Indiana and Ohio.

Although Barbe brought the group into the Valley, he is currently not a part of the ownership.

The company will create 35 jobs initially with plans to hire 100 within two years.

“I heard there was a group looking for a place and I knew (Charleroi mayor) Nancy (Ellis) and Archie (Allridge),” Barbe said. “I brought the group in and Nancy spearheaded it from there.”

Archie Allridge is vice president of Mon Valley Foods, which owned the Sparkle. He also is a neighbor of Barbe.

Barbe said the deal has been six months in the making. He said the site was favorable and the Allridge family made the building affordable. The investors are purchasing the building and the property.

“It seemed the right thing for Charleroi,” Allridge said. “It means jobs.”

Ellis thanked the Washington County Commissioners, state Rep. Pete Daley, D-California, and the Charleroi business community, “who've made them feel welcome and let them know how much we wanted them here.”

Debbie Keefer, executive director of the Mon Valley Regional Chamber of Commerce, said jobs are key to the success of the community.

“The jobs are certainly welcome,” Keefer said. “It will represent the final piece of this plaza. We will be 100 percent occupied. It's a win-win for the downtown business district.

“Our grocery stories, our pharmacies, all of our retail stories will benefit from having manufacturing jobs in our downtown.”

Chris Buckley is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. He can be reached at 724-684-2642 or cbuckley@tribweb.com.

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