(Editor’s note: This is the latest story in a series on economic development in Mason County.)
POINT PLEASANT — If you build it, they will come.
This was the belief of Jim and Sharry Rossi of Mason County, who recently created a business complex at 2807 Jackson Avenue, turning four lots into 5,000-square feet of economic development opportunity.
This complex will house a Pizza Hut Express, be the new home of the West Virginia Division of Rehabilitation Services (currently located on 5th Street) and a new office for Edward Jones Investments.
“We wanted to bring new businesses into our area,” Jim said, in regard to the inspiration he and Sharry had to build the facility.
He explained it’s important for outside investors to see signs of vitality in a community and to witness local people seizing those opportunities to “make things happen in Mason County.”
“I had the building completely leased before we broke ground,” Jim said about those opportunities, which included a deal that took eight months to get Pizza Hut on board.
“Government doesn’t make things happen, business people make things happen,” John Musgrave, director of the Mason County Economic Development Authority said on Tuesday while touring the new facility. Musgrave said he was impressed with the appearance and construction of the new addition to the local business community.
Jim is no stranger to that business community. He returned to Mason County in 1976 where he began an accounting business and retired from that after 30 years. He and Sharry continued to invest in the community and more recently constructed the new Suddenlink building on Viand Street.
As for the complex at 2807 Jackson Avenue, it addition to the building, the couple have paved the parking lot, added extra lighting, put up signage, put in new drains as well as a black fence along the lot and a decorative retaining wall behind the facility – extra dirt was added to raise and level the lots. Landscaping also remains to be done, as well as work on the final suite which will house the new Edwards Jones Investments office.
Jim and Sharry said, as of Nov. 1, the center suite belongs to the division of rehabilitation services and they have heard the Pizza Hut Express is tentatively set to open on Nov. 11, with work still ongoing in the restaurant as of Monday. The Pizza Hut Express has no dining room but is rather a carry-out facility with Pizza Hut menu items. The Edward Jones office should open around the first of January.
“We’ve got potential here,” Jim said, saying two of the biggest “roadblocks” for the area, in terms of economic growth, are now gone or nearly gone. Those “roadblocks” being upgraded school facilities and the completion of U.S. 35.
“People need to make the investment,” Jim said. “Point Pleasant and Mason County have a tremendous amount of potential.”
Reach Beth Sergent at email@example.com or on Twitter @BSergentWrites.