Lynchburg Steel officially reopens as Cooper Steel

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AMHERST Co., Va. (WDBJ7) -- Nearly six months after announcing plans to shut down, a manufacturing company in the Lynchburg area is coming back to life.

Lynchburg Steel officially reopened Tuesday as Cooper Steel. (WDBJ7)

Back in July, the future appeared dim for nearly 80 employees at Lynchburg Steel as leaders announced they'd be closing due to financial issues.

But Amherst County's Economic Development Director says a total shut down was avoided, thanks to a company based in Tennessee. "The lights never went off at Lynchburg Steel before it was bought by Cooper Steel; even though there were some jobs that were lost, there was some retainage of some of the highly skilled, qualified people here," explained Victoria Hanson.

And it was the highly skilled, qualified workers that attracted the owners at Cooper Steel Fabricators. "The skilled workforce was a great find for us, so we weren't really looking to go to Virginia, but we were looking for skilled help," said Gary Cooper, the CEO of Cooper Steel.

"Cooper Steel of Virginia" officially opened its second plant on Tuesday in Amherst County, retaining about 40 employees.

Tony Chambers, who has worked at Lynchburg Steel for more than 15 years, believes his job was spared by a higher power. "I had the man upstairs with me and he told me 'don't worry' because he was going to take care of me," said Chambers.

And now, these employees have nothing to worry about anytime soon.
Tony Chambers/Employee: "Oh, it means the world, you just don't know how good it feels knowing you've got a job," added Chambers.

Welder, Melvin Burks, who has worked here for nearly four decades, shares the same feelings. "It makes me feel good, I was worried about it because I've been here so long, I didn't want to see the place close," explained Burks.