by Damian Phillips STAFF WRITER Feb 2, 2024
CLARKSBURG, W.Va. (WV News) — City, county and state officials were among those who gathered at the new Bridgeport location of Menards home improvement store for a “board cutting” ceremony Friday.
After a few moments indoors, officials stepped outside to share their excitement about the opening of the new Harrison County business.
Bridgeport Menards General Manager Ralf Hamerski thanked the public for its support and discussed how this store location is already supporting its community.
“We’ve got a great group of hard-working team members hired from the local community,” he said, before explaining to everyone what Menards offers.
“We’re a one-stop shop. We have a little bit of everything from home improvement supplies, from electrical supplies, plumbing, housewares, floor coverings, wall coverings, cabinets and appliances. We have a huge hardware department. We have a full, real lumberyard. We even have a grocery/pet department at our store as well,” Hamerski said.
West Virginia Senate President Craig Blair praised Bridgeport and Harrison County for being able to sustain the business.
“This is the growth area in the state of West Virginia, and we want more growth areas. There is prosperity ahead and opportunity because of this capital investment in your community. It’s telling you that the future is bright,” he said.
Blair also praised the Menards company and attributed its success throughout the country to being run well.
“Thank you for choosing West Virginia,” he said before jokingly lobbying Menards Executive Vice President J.R. Menard to build a location in the Martinsburg area of the Eastern Panhandle, where Blair is originally from.
“It is a great day for North Central West Virginia,” said Bridgeport Mayor Andy Lang.
Lang went on to laud the store for the wide-reaching affect it will have by drawing customers from all over the state.
Hamerski also introduced Menards General Manager of Retail Operations Gaylen Heckman, who reminded customers:
“The registers are open; we need to pay for this building. Come on in and let’s get some commerce going.
“It’s not by accident that we opened up the store here. There’s a lot of research, there’s a lot of development, there’s a lot of projections and forecasting [about] why we’re going to be successful in the communities we open up in. And we’re very excited to be in Bridgeport.”
Heckman added that Menards Business Preview Night event on Monday was one of the best turnouts the company has seen to date.
West Virginia Economic Development Authority Executive Director Kris Warner thanked Menard for his investment in West Virginia and gave him and Hamerski golden lapel pins.
The event was closed out with a “board cutting,” or “Menards’ version of a ribbon cutting,” said Mike Queen, deputy chief of staff for the West Virginia secretary of state.
State and local officials adorned the board with their signatures before Blair was handed a reciprocating saw to do the honors.