• Rockingham County gets a little sweeter

    Friday, January 29, 2021

    Smiley’s Ice Cream will invest more than $1.15 million to build a new ice cream manufacturing facility and retail store in Rockingham County, creating eight jobs, Gov. Ralph Northam announced Friday.

    The homemade-style ice cream producer will source an additional 18,000 gallons of Virginia-produced dairy and 2,500 pounds of Virginia-grown fruits during the next three years for production.

    “We are delighted to support this expansion by Smiley’s Ice Cream, a business that has found its sweet spot by bringing together entrepreneurship, Virginia-grown ingredients and agri-tourism in the Shenandoah Valley,” Northam said in a statement. “The company’s commitment to investing in Virginia farmers and agricultural products will further strengthen this rural economy and create exciting new opportunities in Rockingham County for visitors and residents alike.”

    Smiley’s Ice Cream was founded in 2001 and in 2017 opened its first brick-and-mortar store next to Mt. Crawford Creamery, where it still sources ingredients.

    “This grant will help with the building of a truly one-of-a-kind ice cream destination for the town of Bridgewater,” founder Derek Smiley said in a statement. “We take great pride in supporting Virginia’s local farms by purchasing locally many of the fresh fruits used to make our ice cream and understand the fresh milk and cream coming from Mt. Crawford Creamery is the backbone of our great ice cream.”

    The commonwealth is working with Rockingham County and the Rockingham County Economic Development Authority through the Governor’s Agriculture and Forestry Industries Development (AFID) Fund. Northam also approved a $20,000 AFID Fund grant to secure the project for Virginia.

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